E-rate December 2023 Update

December 8, 2023

Begin Your FY 2024 Bidding If You Haven’t Started – If you have a contract that needs to be rebid, or you will be seeking Category 2 funding for FY 2025, and you haven’t yet started your competitive bidding process, please do so as soon as possible.  Do not wait until January to begin your bidding!  How do you know if you have to bid?  Here’s a reminder:

1)  If a service is covered on a Month-to-Month basis (meaning no contract exists – these are mostly cable modem-type services) AND your services do not qualify for the CABIO bidding exemption;

2)  At the beginning of any new contract.  Note:  If you posted a Form 470 in a previous year, and then signed a multi-year contract that expires on or after June 30, 2025, you are not required to file a Form 470 for FY 2024.

3)  If you’re upgrading service and the upgrades and associated prices are not included in the original contract.

A rebidding status list, based on the contract expiration dates you listed on the FY 2023 Form 471, is available at:  http://e-ratepa.org/?p=35117.

FY 2024 Form 471 Window Dates – The Form 471 window filing dates have not yet been announced, likely because they are waiting for details of the school bus Wi-Fi implementation to be released.  I expect we will have the dates before the holiday break, and they will be very similar to previous years which is that the window will open mid-January and close mid-late March.

Updating Discounts in EPC with Enrollment/NSLP Data – The period before the Form 471 window opens when schools and libraries make sure their EPC profiles are up to date is called the Admin Window.  The Admin Window deadline for FY 2024 has not been announced but I expect it will be around January 10.  Applicants are required to update their enrollment and NSLP (or CEP%) each year.  Please see http://e-ratepa.org/?p=35212 for information on updating this data.

Answers to Recent Enrollment/NSLP/CEP Questions:

  • If your PDE data is lumped together for 2 schools but broken out in EPC, you should obtain the breakdown from your food service director and enter it by school building in EPC.
  • If you have a school with a CEP% below 40%, you must average together all of the school’s CEP data and enter the average CEP% for each school in your district (not just the school with the CEP% below 40%).
  • There are 82 PA entities, including 32 school districts, that did not submit their enrollment/NSLP to PDE in October.  If your organization’s data is missing from the spreadsheet, you should obtain your October 2023 enrollment/NSLP data directly from your food service director.  I will attempt to obtain and send a revised draft list in early January, so you can make sure that the data you’ve entered matches what was submitted to PDE.

School Bus Wi-Fi E-rate Eligibility Details – The FCC has not yet released eligibility and implementation details of the school bus Wi-Fi initiative.  I expect they will be included in the final FY 2024 E-rate Eligible Services List (ESL) which is expected to be released in the next 2-3 weeks.  Stay tuned for more information.

FCC Seeks Comments on Hot Spot Eligibility - In November, the FCC released a Public Notice, that proposes to make Wi-Fi hotspots and related mobile broadband services eligible for E-rate for students, teachers and library patrons who otherwise would not have Internet access off campus.   The FCC is seeking comments on this proposal, as well as more than 140 implementation-related questions.  Comments are due January 8 with replies due on January 24.  Comments can be filed online at http://www.fcc.gov/ecfs and should refer to the E-rate docket number of 21-31.

– Julie

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

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