Funding Year 2018 – Let’s Get Started!

October 30, 2017

Attached: FY 2018 Veterans Presentation Oct 2017

Attached: C2 Budgets Used As of Oct 30 2017

Funding Year 2018 officially starts July 1, 2018 (recurring services) and April 1, 2018 (non-recurring purchases), and because E-rate requires us to conduct the procurement and application process well before the funding year begins, it’s time to begin the process for next year!  Below is a synopsis of what is changing/not changing for FY 2018 and I strongly encourage you to read this message in its entirety (items in red are most important).  Also, attached is a copy of the presentation to veteran PA E-rate applicants on Oct. 25, 2017.

  • Changes to EPC Portal:The look of some screens in EPC changed last week as follows:

– When you sign in for the first time since last week, you’ll be required to accept new Terms and Conditions.  The updated language says you agree that they can submit all correspondence to you electronically.

– The took the left toolbar and made it a horizontal toolbar.

– They made it more difficult to find the USAC Logo, which is the button you need to return to your Landing Page.  Now the easiest way is to click on > Reports (on the top blue row) > My Landing Page.

  • Form 470:  The Form 470 is the form used to competitively bid all services/equipment for which you will be seeking E-rate discounts.  The Form 470 was changed slightly for FY 2018 as follows:

– The Leased Dark Fiber and Self-Provisioned Fiber drop-down choices have been changed to reflect that they must be competitively bid against Leased Lit Fiber.  A good change.

– The biggest change comes in the new USAC guidance to 470 request for Internet Access that requires Fiber Transport (otherwise known as bundled Internet).  The new guidance requires applicants to select 2 service requests – “Internet with Transport” AND Leased Lit Fiber.  If you’re in a multi-year contract or posted your 470 before August 26, 2017, you’ll be grandfathered under the old rules.  I will be sending more information to the listserve on this new guidance very soon.

– There is no 470 filing window.  This means that you should be filing your Form 470s now, conducting your bid evaluations in January, taking your contracts to the board in February, and filing the 471 in early March.  If you’re unsure if you have to rebid any current services, see for list of all FY 2017 FRNs and, based on what you entered as the contract expiration date and available contract extensions, a note explaining whether you must rebid the service for FY 2018.  A separate message explaining the Form 470 process is coming…

  • Eligible Services: 

– The eligible services list is not changing for FY 2018 except that the FCC clarified that connections between schools that are located within the same building are considered Category 2.

– FY 2018 is the final year of the voice phase out, with only 90%-discount applicants receiving a 10% voice discount.  No voice C2 equipment is eligible.

  • Form 471 Filing Window Dates:

– There will again be an “Administrative Window” before the Form 471 window opens, during which time schools must update their enrollment and NSLP/CEP% data in each school’s EPC profile.  The Admin Window is expected to be open from mid-November – the end of December.  Do not update the EPC profiles until you get the green light from me and/or USAC.

– The Form 471 window dates have not yet been set, although we expect them to be announced in the next few weeks.  I am guessing the window will open in early January and close in mid-March.  If I’m accurate, this will mean a much earlier Form 471 deadline than the previous two years.  The earlier the window closes, the sooner you will receive funding commitments!   Planning:  be sure to have all of your contracts taken to your board at their February meeting.

  • Category 2 Year Budget Calculations:  To calculate your Category 2 budget, multiply $153.47 * # students enrolled for each school building.   If you’ve previously received E-rate commitments for a building, you will then subtract that approved, pre-discount amount from the budget to obtain the amount of C2 funds remaining. To find how much of your schools’ C2 budgets have been used thus far, see the attached spreadsheet that is updated as of October 30, 2018.  I encourage everyone to utilize as much of their C2 budgets as possible in FY 2018 and/or FY 2019 as we are unsure what the C2 funding structure may look like for FY 2020 and beyond.   However, when submitting your Form 471, do NOT request more than your remaining C2 budget for each building because it will push your application to the “end of the review line” and PIA will just make you reduce it anyway!
  • PEPPM Mini-Bids:  The State PEPPM Contract mini-bid procurement process for Category 2 purchases has not changed for FY 2018 except that a few additional product lines will be added on January 2, 2018.   Soon, I’ll send a message explaining the mini-bid process and the product lines being added.
  • Special Construction Charges for All Types of Fiber Funding Requests:  If you will be applying for any build-out (special construction) of fiber (be it lit, dark or self-provisioned), I strongly encourage you to review USAC’s Fiber Training slides, at: as they contain a very good explanation of the very strict rules related to competitive bidding, bid evaluation, what amounts USAC will pay for when additional (excess) fibers are put in the trench along with the fibers needed by the school or library. Please note that if you apply for special construction charges, you should expect to receive a voluminous amount of PIA review (contact me if you want a copy of what applicants faced in FY 2017).

I am optimistic that Funding Year 2018 will go much more smoothly than the last two year and I encourage you to get started now!   If you have any questions about anything in this message, please e-mail me at

Funding Year 2018 – Here We Come!

– Julie

Julie Tritt Schell
PA E-rate Coordinator
717-730-7133 – o
717-730-9060 – f


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