3 Days Remain to Apply for ECF Window 3 Funding

May 11, 2022

Attached: ECF Window 3 – 471 Demo

The third application window for the federal Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) program closes Friday, May 13, 2022 at 11:59 pm EDT.  ECF Window 3 pays for Internet access and laptops/tablets for students, teachers/paraprofessionals and library patrons with an unmet need for eligible purchases/services that occur between July 1, 2022 – December 31, 2023 (only 12 months of services are eligible during this time period).  Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions I’ve received, below is a list of ECF Form 471 Do’s and Don’ts, and attached is an Overview of Window 3 that was used during the 471 Demo webinar this week.  The USAC Form 471 Filing Guide is available at:  https://www.emergencyconnectivityfund.org/ecf-fcc-form-471/.

1. If I would like to continue receiving internet services such as mobile broadband and cable modem/FIOs services that were funded in ECF FY 2021 (Windows 1 or 2), am I required to reapply in Window 3?
– Yes.  You must submit a new application in Window 3 and in the FRN narrative indicate the FY 2021 ECF 471, FRN and service start and end dates of the services received in ECF FY 2021, as well as what 12 months you are seeking service in FY 2022.  This is so the PIA reviewer can confirm that you are not seeking funding for overlapping months of services.   See slide 12 for the exact language that must be included in the narrative.

2. If I didn’t apply in Windows 1 or 2, can I still apply in Window 3?
– Yes.

3. We are replacing student laptops in our school in FY 2022.  Can we use ECF funding for these laptops?
– ECF funding can be used to purchase laptops/tablets for students and teachers that have an unmet need, meaning they don’t otherwise have access to a connected device at home that allows them to participate in remote learning or to conduct homework.

4. If we don’t know exactly which students have unmet needs, can we still apply?
– At the ECF Form 471 stage, you can use a “reasonable estimate” of how many students or teachers have unmet needs.  This can be based on NSLP data, census data, survey data, etc.  But the approved devices may only be loaned to students/teachers with documented unmet needs, and you may only apply for ECF reimbursement for those devices.  Applicants should be prepared to provide documentation of the unmet needs when the ECF reimbursement forms (BEAR or SPI) are submitted to USAC.

5. What happens if there isn’t enough funding to meet Window 3 requests?
– Funding will be awarded to the highest E-rate discount applicants first, with a 5% bonus for rural applicants, and then they will work their way down until all funding has been exhausted.  To be clear, even though they will award funding based on E-rate discount levels, ECF funds will still be awarded at 100%, meaning E-rate discounts or proration will apply.  See slide 5 of the attached presentation.

6. We are operating in-person instruction 5 days a week.  Do we qualify?
– Yes.  ECF funding can be used to close the Homework Gap, not just for when your school is remote learning.

ECF Form 471 Hints, Do’s and Don’t’s:

  • Create different FRNs for Equipment and Internet.  Wi-Fi Hotspot devices and monthly internet service costs must be on separate FRNs (one is equipment and the other services).
  • If you’re requesting Internet on buses, list total eligible cost and explain in the narrative that the cost exceeds $250 because it is multiple (x number) of students.
  • If a connected device costs more than $400, just list $400.  Do not list the actual price of the device.
  • If seeking installation, configuration or taxes, list these on the same FRN as the device/service, but as a separate FRN Line Item – don’t bundle the cost with the device cost.  Also, if these are charges related to equipment, you don’t have to list a separate “services” FRN.
  • Installation, configuration and taxes must be provided by the same vendor as the underlying equipment/service.
  • If a school is filing multiple 471s, their Unmet Needs Survey should list identical data on each 471.  Libraries aren’t asked these questions.
  • Upload your vendor quote in the FRN, even though it’s not a mandatory field.  PIA has been asking applicants to submit them if they weren’t uploaded with the application.
  • Vendor quotes should include make and model or service type, quantity, unit cost, service dates.  Don’t just list a quantity of 1.
  • Signed contracts not required.  If using a PO, select “non-contract” as the agreement type.
  • If # of devices/internet service plans on 471 exceeds the quantities listed in the 4th question of the Unmet Needs Survey, explain the reason for the difference in the narrative.  For example, the survey asks for data related to students, but your FRN may include students and teachers.
  • For equipment purchases, use the form’s default service delivery dates of 7/1/2022 – 12/31/2023.
  • For service purchases, you can use the form’s default service delivery dates of 7/1/2022 – 12/31/2023 if you don’t know exactly what the 12 months of service will be.  The detailed cost section will ask you to enter the # of months that service is being provided (cannot exceed 12) and doesn’t automatically calculate using the calendar dates like the E-rate Form 471 does.  Be careful.
  • If you indicate that vendor will be seeking ECF reimbursement, you must upload proof from vendor that they’ve agreed to this.
  • If you get logged out before submitting, go to “My Pending Tasks” to see your draft application (not “My Applications”).  Also, as with the E-rate EPC portal, there’s a very short timeout setting.
  • If you submit the form and realize you’ve made a mistake, there’s a Modification feature under the Related Actions tab to ask your PIA reviewer to make changes.
  • You can download a PDF of the certified form by clicking the 471 #, then “Generated Documents” link in the left toolbar, then “Original Version.”

Additional Resources:

If you have any ECF questions, please e-mail me at jtschell@comcast.net.

– Julie

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

Site graciously hosted by the Capital Area IU 15 | Site designed and maintained by Silver Penny Studio