January 2019 E-rate Updates

January 9, 2019

Happy New Year, E-raters!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and you’ve returned to your school or library with your mind and body refreshed and ready to tackle the FY 2019 E-rate application process!  If you haven’t started yet – NOW IS THE TIME.  Below are a few important updates and a question at the end, unrelated to E-rate.

FY 2018 Wrap-Up

Most FY 2018 funding requests for PA applicants were funded many months ago, but we still have 50 FRNS – particularly fiber requests – worth $8.69 million, that are still pending.  In speaking with USAC officials, their goal is to have all fiber applications decided by the end of February.

New USAC Contractor

Most of USAC’s day-to-day operations/application processing is handled by contracted staff, known as the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) contract.  Recently, USAC awarded the BPO contract to a new vendor, which took over as of January 1, 2019.  The transition is supposed to be seamless to applicants and service providers, but I wanted you to be aware that if you were working with someone in invoicing or PIA (or any other post-commitment function such as Appeals, SPIN changes, Service Substitutions, Form 500s etc.), that contact person is no longer with the organization.  Where applications or post-commitment requests require additional outreach, the new reviewer is expected to “take the ball” where the previous reviewer left off and not start their reviews from scratch.  If you discover otherwise, please let me know.  Please note that BCAP audits, PQA audits, and the Client Service Bureau (CSB) are not covered under the new BPO contract.

FY 2019 Form 471 Filing Window Dates

The Form 471 Window will open on January 16 and will close on March 27.  Please don’t wait to take new contracts to your boards in March – do whatever you can to post your 470s now and take new contracts to your boards for approval in February.  If you have an existing service in a multi-year contract or have already obtained a signed vendor contract, you can file your Form 471 as soon as the window opens on January 16.

Update Enrollment/NSLP Data in EPC

If you haven’t done so already, be sure to update each school’s enrollment and NSLP data in your EPC portal by January 15!  The draft data and helpful guide are available at: http://e-ratepa.org/?p=28241.  The data in your EPC portal will determine your FY 2019 E-rate discount and serve as the basis for each school or library’s Category 2 budgets.  It’s important that you update this data if you haven’t done so already.

Post FY 2019 Form 470’s

If you have any existing services that are MTM or have contracts expiring before June 30, 2020, be sure to file a Form 470 to competitively bid those services as soon as possible if you haven’t done so already.  When filing for Internet, be sure to refer to this guide as the 470 drop downs are confusing again this year:  http://e-ratepa.org/?p=27921.  If you’re using the PEPPM Mini-bid procurement option for your Category 2 requests, be sure to review and follow the detailed PEPPM Guide and templates available at:  http://e-ratepa.org/?p=28411.

PEPPM Mini-Bids – Use Updated Category/Vendor List

For schools that have chosen to use the PA State PEPPM Contract as the procurement option for their E-rate Category 2 applications, be sure to always download and use the most recent version of the PEPPM Category/Vendor List on the Master Contracts page of the PA E-rate website:  http://e-ratepa.org/?page_id=6121.  Some vendors are making changes to their contact data, so it’s important you always have the most updated data when issuing the mini-bids to awarded vendors.

No Longer a Requirement to Update Connectivity Module in EPC

Starting now, applicants are no longer required to update the Connectivity Module in EPC.  The FCC recently decided that the FY 2019 Form 471 will not port over the connectivity questions from EPC and thus applicants are not required to keep those answers current in EPC.


Although Wi-Fi on school buses is not E-rate eligible, I have been asked if any PA schools are providing this service.  If so, will you please let me know?

If you have any questions, please contact me at jtschell@comcast.net!

– Julie

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

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