E-Rate Newsflash - April 19, 2016

E-Rate
  Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The E-rate Fund Year 2016 application window has been extended

The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) announced on Friday, April 15, 2016, that the E-rate filing window has been extended to allow additional time for applicants to submit their applications.

  • The new deadline for submitting applications is now Thursday, May 26, 2016, 8:59 p.m. (PST).
  • A second window will be opened only for consortia and library applicants, which will close Thursday, July 21, 2016, at 8:59 p.m. (PST).  The second window is provided to these groups since they are unable to complete their applications until their member/related school district(s) finalize their discount rates in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) system.

E-rate Productivity Center Highlights

The EPC is changing the flow of how information is put into the E-rate application.  Below is a list of items that must be updated in EPC, but outside of the Form 471.  This information must be updated before the Form 471 can be submitted.  All applicants are encouraged to update this information as soon as possible in order to ease the workload of preparing and submitting the Form 471.

From the entity profile, each entity must ensure:

  • The type for each entity must be correct. 
  • The sub-type for each entity must be correct.
  • The address for each school site must be updated.  When the address is updated, the Urban/Rural status will automatically populate.
  • The enrollment for each school site must be updated.
  • The number of part-time and peak part-time students must be updated.  If the answer is zero, then a “0” must be entered into the field.
  • The number of students eligible for the National School Lunch Program must be updated.
  • Whether or not the school is a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) school must be updated.  Based on the answer to this question, a new field will appear.  If the school is a CEP school, a field to enter the CEP percentage will be provided.  If the school is not a CEP school, the site will be asked if it is using an “alternate discount method”, where it will then select the appropriate answer.

Other items that must be updated in EPC prior to preparing the Form 471:

  • Contract data must be entered for each new and existing contract.
  • Connectivity questions must be answered for each school site.

The K-12 High Speed Network (K12HSN) has prepared a brief video to demonstrate the Entity Profile updates that need to be accomplished.  This video can be viewed by visiting the K12HSN’s E-rate Web page at:  http://www.k12hsn.org/programs/erate/training_materials.php/EPC_tips​.

CALNET 3 and EPC, update to the March 3, 2016 News Flash

A News Flash was released on March 3, 2016 that provided needed information on how to create the contract within EPC for CALNET 3 services.  The Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) has since provided clarification of how State Master Contracts, such as CALNET 3, should be addressed in EPC in their March 25, 2016 News Brief.  The clarification was specific to “piggy backing” contracts.  Based on this clarification, below you will find updated information for creating the contract within EPC for the CALNET 3 services.

Contract info:

Is this contract based on a State Master Contract? YES

Is this contract based on a multiple award schedule? YES

Can other applicants piggy back off this contract? NO

Establishing Form 470: 335470001069064

Contract Award Date (CAD):  November 15, 2013

If an applicant has already submitted their Form 471 with the incorrect contract information, the guidance from the SLD is to submit a Receipt Acknowledgement Letter (RAL) correction to identify the part of the contract that should be corrected.  RAL corrections should be made within EPC.  This error will not affect funding.

Lifeline Modernization Update – Bringing affordable broadband to the home

Universal access to affordable communications is the foundation on which the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has stood since its creation in 1934. Since 1985, the Lifeline program has been one important way the agency sought to achieve this worthy goal by helping low-income consumers afford phone service. For the past year, the Commission has been in the process of modernizing Lifeline for the broadband area focusing on:

1. Modernizing the program to help connect low income Americans to the Internet; and

2. Reforming the program management to ensure fiscal stability of the program.

The order (https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-modernizes-lifeline-program-digital-age), voted on and approved March 31, 2016, allows qualifying low-income customers to apply for a $9.25 per month subsidy to stand alone mobile or fixed broadband service as well as bundled voice and data packages. It also sets standards for first class service and strives to ensure choices that allow consumers to get the most value for the subsidy. An additional reform that is included is the establishment of a National Eligibility Verifier that will serve as a neutral third party entity that will remove the opportunity for providers to enroll ineligible subscribers. The program sets an annual budget of $2.25 billion that will be indexed to inflation.

This program will be available to qualifying families in school districts statewide starting December 1, 2016 and for more information visit the FCC webpage at: https://www.fcc.gov/general/lifeline-program-low-income-consumers, and http://www.usac.org/li/

 

SLD News Briefs

The SLD provides timely instruction and insight through their Weekly News Brief. If you have not already done so, we encourage you to sign up to receive these communications by visiting the SLD’s Web page at: http://www.usac.org/sl/tools/news-briefs/Default.aspx.

If you have any questions, please contact the California Department of Education (CDE) Educational Data Management Division by e-mail at E-RATE@cde.ca.gov.