April 2017 E-rate Update
April 6, 2017
~ 35 Days Until the Form 471 Deadline ~
Happy April, E-raters! Here are a few updates to keep you updated on the latest happenings.
Last Minute Form 470s or PEPPM Mini-Bids
If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to post any last minute Form 470s for new equipment, for MTM services (must be filed annually), or for services covered under a new contract. For specific Form 470 reminders and hints, see: http://e-ratepa.org/?p=19351. The very last day that you can post a 470 is April 13, but this only leaves the final day of the Form 471 window – May 11 — to evaluate your bids, obtain local approvals, sign contracts and complete the 471.
FY 2017 RAL Corrections/Cancellations
Several applicants have filed Form 471s and would like to make changes to those applications, cancel individual FRNs or cancel the 471 entirely. That function is performed using the “RAL Correction Process” found with your Form 471, which is now operational for FY 2017. For specific instructions on where to find and how to use the RAL Correction Process, see: http://e-ratepa.org/?p=19551.
Voice Services Eligibility for FY 2017
I’ve received a few questions about the eligibility of voice services for FY 2017. Voice services are continuing to be phased out, with FY 2017 reducing voice discounts by 60%. This means that the only applicants still eligible for voice discounts are those in the 70, 80 and 90% discount bands (their discounts would be 10, 20 or 30%). This includes voice services and Category 2 voice equipment.
Status of SPIN Changes/Service Substitutions/Appeals
Lots and lots of you submitted SPIN Change Requests, Service Substitution Requests and Appeals (many over 6 months ago) and they’re still pending. The delays have been due to fact that USAC has been building the back-end functionality to process those post-commitment requests and issue decisions in the new EPC system. We’ve been told that USAC has just begun issuing decisions or requesting more information related to those Post Commitment Requests, but it will take some time to get through the backlog. If USAC has questions about your Appeal, SPIN Change Request or Service Substitution Request they will post those questions in EPC and send you an e-mail letting you know you have X number of days to answer those questions. Post Commitment Decisions will now be called RFCDLs (Revised Funding Commitment Decision Letters) and will be posted in EPC under Notifications (top of Landing Page). Applicants will receive an e-mail notifying them that a decision has been made and their RFCDL is available in EPC.
Copy FRN Functionality
The FY 2017 Form 471 now allows you to Copy a previously created FY 2016 or FY 2017 FRN to your FY 2017 application – a step that will save you time when submitting your FY 2017 Form 471s. Copy FRN will be most useful for recurring service FRNs, such as Category 1 and Basic Maintenance, but can be used for Category 2 requests as well (such as when you realize a mistake after the 471 has been certified and want to start over on a new 471). For more details about the Copy FRN feature and to view the Guide, see: http://e-ratepa.org/?p=19301.
FRN Line Items Bulk Upload Tool
When creating Internal Connections FRNs with multiple FRN Line Items or multiple Recipients of Service, applicants can use a Bulk Upload feature where a Template is created off-line and then uploaded into the FRN. It’s a true lifesaver for some applications! For more details about the Bulk Upload feature and to view the Guide, see: http://e-ratepa.org/?p=19371.
Category 2 Budget Changes
The FCC recently adjusted the FY 2017 Category 2 budgets for inflation as follows: 2017 = $153.47/student, $2.35/square foot (non-urban libraries), $6.05/sq. foot (large urban libraries) – or minimum of $9,412.80/school/library. For more information on how this will impact your FY 2017 application, and how to calculate your remaining C2 budgets, see: http://e-ratepa.org/?p=19251. One slight update: For the few applicants that revised their FY 2016 E-rate funding request because they were “over budget” and now want to increase that funding request, USAC is considering the best way to make such a request (appeal, etc.) and the deadline for doing so. I’ll let you know when more information becomes available.
Category 1 and Category 2 Filing Guides
- The Funding Year C1 and C2 Filing Guides are available at: http://e-ratepa.org/?page_id=754. You’ll notice several other helpful documents on this page, including the “Category 2 Cost Allocation Guide for Shared Equipment” which explains the options and math for allocating Category 2 school/library budgets for equipment shared by multiple schools (such as core switches and wireless controllers).
If you have any questions about any of these or any other E-rate topics, please don’t hesitate to e-mail me at email@example.com!