ECF Questions Answered

September 27, 2021

Friday’s announcement of the first funding wave of the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) has sparked several questions for which this message tries to answer.

1)  If you applied for ECF in Window 1, but didn’t receive funding in ECF Wave 1, will there be more funding waves coming? 

– Yes!  Friday’s funding announcement was just the first of many ECF funding waves.  In fact, only 41% of PA applicants were funded in Wave 1, committing only ~20% of the total requested.  USAC hasn’t announced how regularly the ECF funding waves will be issued, but I expect it will be on a weekly basis.  So if you haven’t yet been funded, don’t panic!  Funding is coming… I promise.

2)  If you weren’t funded in Wave 1, should you resubmit the same application in ECF Window 2 that opens September 28? 

– No!  Do not resubmit your Window 1 pending application.

3)  If you submitted an ECF application after the Window 1 August 13 deadline, should you resubmit your application in Window 2? 

– No.  The FCC has ordered that all late-filed ECF Window 1 applications will automatically be moved into Window 2.  No late-filed applications will be considered in Window 1, even if the applicant submitted a waiver request to the FCC.  There are 9 schools and libraries in PA that submitted out-of-window applications that will be moved into Window 2.

4)  If you applied in Window 1, and now realize you need more equipment or services, can you augment your Window 1 application or should you apply in Window 2?

– There is no way to augment your Window 1 application; you must apply in Window 2 if you have additional unmet needs.  However, applicants should not seek support for equipment and services already requested during the first application filing window, even if those funding requests are still pending.  Applicants requesting support for similar services or equipment should clearly explain the differences between their requests so USAC fully understands that your application is not duplicative.

5)  How can you make changes to your application after you’ve been funded? 

– If you were included in Wave 1 funding and would like to change your service provider, specific equipment or services, the invoicing mode (BEAR to SPI or SPI to BEAR), or the service start or end date, you may do so now in your ECF Portal by clicking on the Form 471 (My Forms), then Related Actions, then Create a Post-Commitment Request.

6)  How can you make changes BEFORE you receive your ECF funding commitment letter?

– Log into your ECF portal, locate your Form 471 under My Forms, then select Related Actions, then Contact Reviewer to make pre-commitment modifications to your request.)

7)  When can you submit your BEAR reimbursement form to USAC?

– The Form 472 ECF BEAR Reimbursement Portal has not yet opened, but we know that it will be within the next 2 weeks.  I’ll send an announcement to the listserve as soon as it is available.

8)  What should you be doing now?

– If you were funded, and haven’t already ordered the equipment or services, you should do so now!  You also should be documenting the unmet needs of the students/teachers/library patrons for which the devices and services are being distributed.  During the Form 471 application stage, applicants only were required to provide their “best estimates” of 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.  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.

If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at

– Julie

Julie Tritt Schell

Pennsylvania E-rate Coordinator
717-730-7133 – o


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