Happy July E-rate Update!
July 3, 2013
A little E-rate update while you're lounging at the beach, by the pool or taking in the fireworks. Have a great 4th, E-raters!
E-rate NPRM Coming Soon: After two years of anticipation, the FCC announced that on July 19 they will release the E-rate NPRM (Notice of Proposed Rule Making) to 'modernize the Schools and Libraries Universal Service Support mechanism (the E-rate program) to support high-speed broadband for digital learning technologies and ensure all students, teachers, and library patrons have the tools they need to succeed in the 21st century.' Although the exact contents of the NPRM aren't yet known, we expect the Commission will propose several possible ways to reform the program and connect all schools to broadband speeds (per the President's new connectED initiative), and seek comments/opinions from stakeholder organizations, schools, libraries and service providers. Typically, an NPRM comment period is 60 days from the date it's published in the Federal Register (which sometimes takes a week and sometimes takes a month), and then a 30-day reply period. I believe we'll be surprised at the major reforms that are proposed. I will send the NPRM and detailed summary soon after the 19th.
FY 2014, Form 470 Now Available: Although funding year 2013 has just begin, the FY 2014 Form 470 online application is now available. Most schools and libraries wait until the fall to post their 470's to competitively bid their E-rate services, but if you have a long procurement process or want to get a jump start on FY 2014, the form is available. Don't forget, if you are applying for E-rate on Priority 2 services/equipment, you must have a written, dated technology plan prepared before you can file the Form 470 (the plan does not need to be approved until July 1, 2014).
Pace of FY 2013 Funding Commitments: In PA, only about 50% of applicants have been funded for FY 2013 (631 of 1242), which is far behind the normal pace. According to USAC, they have funded the applications that didn't require PIA review (mostly smaller apps) and have been focusing on finishing up FY 2012 applications. I expect the pace of FY 2013 PIA reviews and FCDLs to pick up in the coming weeks.
Don't Forget to File Your Form 486: Of the 631 PA applicants that have been funded for FY 2013, 394 have not yet filed their Form 486s. The deadline is October 28, 2013, but please don't wait this long to file. In addition, service providers won't discount bills without the Form 486 Notification Letter from USAC.
Please don't hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions!
Julie Tritt Schell
PA E-rate Coordinator
717-730-7133 - o
717-730-9060 - f