ECF Update and New Webinar Scheduled (9/8/2021)

September 2, 2021

ECF Funding and Invoicing Update

Many of you have asked when ECF Funding Commitment Letters will begin to be issued, and although I don’t have an exact date, I expect it will be soon.  Just like E-rate FCDLs, they’ll be issued in weekly waves and you will receive them via e-mail.  After you receive your ECF FCDL and equipment or service has been received, and after the new ECF Invoicing System has been released, you can file the ECF BEAR to seek reimbursement.  Don’t forget, vendor invoices must be uploaded with your ECF BEAR at time of completion.

Changing Equipment/Services/Invoicing Mode

If you need to make modifications to your pre-commitment ECF funding requests, log into your ECF portal, click on your ECF Form 471 application, and use the modification feature under the Related Actions tab to ask your PIA reviewer to make changes.

Ongoing ECF PIA Inquiries

USAC has a separate PIA team of reviewers that are actively conducting outreach for submitted applications on which they have questions or need additional information.  PIA outreach notifications will come via e-mail from “; on behalf of; Emergency Connectivity Fund Admin” so please white-list both of these e-mail addresses.  If you receive a PIA inquiry, the subject line will be “Emergency Connectivity Fund Information Request: FCC Form 471 Application ECF2021xxxxx”.  Before clicking on the “Click here to respond to inquiries link” in the body of the message, log-in to the ECF Portal at

Most PIA inquiries will contain an attachment in the portal which explains exactly the information they’re seeking.  To reply, click on “Contact Reviewer” in the top right corner of the page.  If you’re unsure how to respond or think a proposed modification/denial is being made in error, don’t hesitate to push back or e-mail me if you’re unsure.

Documenting Unmet Needs of Students, Teachers & Library Patrons

During the Form 471 application stage, applicants only were required to provide their “best estimates” of their students, teachers, or library patrons’ unmet needs.  However, when schools or their vendors file for ECF reimbursements they should only request reimbursement for approved equipment or broadband services that have been or will be provided to actual students or teachers who otherwise lack connected devices or internet access sufficient to engage in remote learning (no estimates or spares).  Schools may be asked to provide documentation related to the equipment assigned to these students or teachers, demonstrating this unmet need.  Therefore, it is especially important that schools compile this information prior to submitting the ECF BEAR Reimbursement Form and be prepared to submit it to USAC upon request.  For libraries, ECF rules require that patrons checking out ECF-funded equipment or services must be provided with a copy of an eligible use policy which explains that the equipment or service is intended for library patrons who do not otherwise have access to a connected device or services sufficient to meet the patrons’ needs, AND patrons must sign and return a statement saying they would otherwise lack such access.  Such statements may be made in electronic format, such as being incorporated as part of the online check-out process.  See: for examples of Unmet Needs Certifications for students, teachers and library patrons.

ECF Window 2 Coming!

The FCC has announced that total demand for the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) is $5.137 billion, which is about $2 billion less than the total $7.17 billion available.  In light of how many schools were closed this summer, the rise of the Delta variant which is causing more schools to return to remote learning, and other schools and libraries that expressed they did not have enough time to apply, the FCC will open a second ECF application window for services/equipment that were or will be purchased between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022 (same eligibility period as Window 1).  The second window will be open for 15 days – from September 28 to October 13, 2021.  This is a great opportunity for those schools and libraries that missed Window 1, or need to request additional equipment/services.

ECF Window 2 Webinar

On Wednesday, September 8 at 1:00 p.m. I will be conducting an ECF webinar to provide an overview of the program and answer your ECF questions.  I have heard from many PA schools and libraries regretted not applying in Window 1, so I hope you will take this opportunity to attend the webinar and begin preparing to apply in Window 2 if you still have students, teachers or library patrons with unmet broadband or connected devices while they are not on school or library campus.

To attend, please register at:

If you have any ECF questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

– Julie

Julie Tritt Schell
Pennsylvania E-rate Coordinator
717-730-7133 – o


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