E-rate and ECF Update – September 2021

September 15, 2021

Happy Wednesday, everyone!  I know you’ve all been busy with back-to-school activities, but it’s time to start focusing on E-rate and ECF once again!  Below are important updates/to-do items for both programs.  As always, please let me know if you have any questions.

Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF)

  • Window 1 Funding Update - I expect that the first wave of funding commitment letters will be released VERY soon.  Funding decision letters are sent via e-mail and will show the approved funding amounts and an explanation if funding was reduced.  Funding waves will be released on a weekly basis and I hope to be able to send funding wave notices to the listserve like I do for E-rate.  We don’t know yet if the ECF BEAR system will be ready to accept reimbursement forms when the funding letters begin to be issued, but if not, we know that it will be ready within two weeks of Wave 1.  Also, don’t forget to document the unmet needs of the specific people receiving the equipment/services (see: http://e-ratepa.org/?p=33555 for more information).
  • Window 2 ECF Application Window – If you didn’t apply in ECF Window 1, or if you did apply and now realize you need additional devices/services for students/teachers/library patrons with unmet needs, I hope you will plan to apply in ECF Window 2.  The window will only be open from September 28 – October 13, 2021 (very short), so if you plan to apply, you should be determining quantities needed, and obtaining vendor quotes now.  If you plan to apply for network buildout funds to bring internet to homes where commercially available wired and wireless internet is not currently available, and if you haven’t yet surveyed your local vendors, please begin that process as soon as possible (see: http://e-ratepa.org/?p=33382 for more information).  Note:  Please apply in Window 2 if you have any needs and not worry about whether there will be enough funds available.


  • Fall Training – E-rate training will be conducted online again this fall.  I will announce both beginners and veterans training in the coming weeks, which will both be conducted after the ECF Window 2 has closed.  In the meantime, if you are new to E-rate, please be sure that you have established your own E-rate EPC Portal account which can only be done by your EPC Account Administrator or by calling USAC at 888-203-8100.
  • FY 2022 E-rate “Admin Window” – Each fall USAC opens an “admin window” where applicants must update their EPC profiles to reflect current enrollment, NSLP data and library square footage changes.   Due to COVID, last year schools were permitted to use FY 2019 data and we’re awaiting guidance from the FCC about whether FY 2019 data can continue to be used.  I expect the admin window will open sometime in October and by then we should know which data you are permitted/required to use.
  • New Form 470 for FY 2022, But Wait to File if Possible – USAC has released the FY 2022 Form 470, but the service description options and formats are entirely new.  We are seeking guidance from the FCC whether applicants can still be specific in the Category 1 technology they’re seeking (can we say “leased lit fiber”?) and until we receive this guidance, I ask that you not post any new Form 470s if you can possibly wait a few more weeks.  (For those new to E-rate, the Form 470 is the form that must be used to competitively bid all new services and equipment for which you would like to apply for discounts in FY 2021).
  • Request Extension if Needed for FY 2019 or FY 2020 Internal Connections FRNs – Earlier today I sent a reminder that if you were approved for internal connections for FY 2019 or FY 2020 and you have not yet purchased and/or installed that equipment, the deadline to do so is September 30, 2021.  If you need more time, please file a Form 500 in EPC to request a Service Delivery Deadline Extension BEFORE September 30, 2021.
  • File your FY 2020 BEARs Now! – The deadline to file Form 472 BEARs for recurring services is October 28, 2021 (120 days after the last date to receive service).   See: http://e-ratepa.org/?p=33435 for more information about file the BEAR.  I will send a message in a few weeks with updated information about which schools and libraries still have not filed for reimbursement for FY 2020.  FY 2020 BEARs for non-recurring services (internal connections) are due January 20, 2022.
  • Remember to File Your FY 2021 Form 486  The next step after receiving a FCDL (funding commitment decision letter) is to file the Form 486.  If you haven’t yet filed your FY 2021 Form 486, please be sure to do so by October 28.  Two reminders:  Because it is now after July 31, you should NOT check the ‘Early Filing Box’, and be careful not to be “click happy” on the CIPA certifications.   A helpful Form 486 Filing guide is available at:  http://e-ratepa.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Form-486-Filing-Guide-2021.pdf.  I will send a list soon of FRNs that don’t yet have 486s filed for them, so file now and stay off the list!
  • Reminders for Purchasing FY 2021 Category 2 Equipment When purchasing Category 2 equipment/services using FY 2021 E-rate funding commitments, please remember these important items:  1) The Service Start Date on the Form 486 and/or the BEAR Form Item 11, Shipping Date to Customer, should always be on or after July 1, 2021, even if you purchased the equipment between April 1 – June 30, 2021.  Why?  The rules permit applicants to purchase equipment 3 months before the funding year begins, but the forms cannot have dates that are earlier than the first day of the funding year.  2)  Always label your equipment and then log it in your Asset Register (equipment inventory).  A helpful guide for purchasing C2 equipment, including a sample Asset Register and PO data points, can be found at:  http://e-ratepa.org/?p=33168.

Please let me know if I can help you!

– Julie

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

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