E-Rate Newsflash - May 05, 2016

E-Rate
  Thursday, May 5, 2016

California Teleconnect Fund Decision

On April 21, 2016, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued a final decision implementing changes in two areas: (1) what they are calling the “CTF E-rate Cap”, and (2) an exemption to the reduced voice service support.

The “CTF E-rate cap” limits the California Teleconnect Fund (CTF) discount for an applicant to no greater than the E-rate discount. CTF directs carriers to apply an E-rate cap effective on the first billing cycle that begins on or after November 1, 2016 (read more about the cap here).

The CTF reduced voice services support goes into effect on July 1, 2016. However, the CTF will allow for an exemption to the 25 percent discount, thereby making it 50 percent. By May 21, 2016, the CTF will post the list of entities they deem presumptively eligible for the exemption on their Web site. The entities on the list should be those that are located in an unserved or underserved area based on the Commission’s Broadband Availability map. Agencies that are on the list will have 20 days from the posting of the list to provide certification to the CTF that “they receive only voice services from any telecommunications carrier” and “The certification should be supported by billing documentation that includes the most recent bill and a bill from the previous year.” (See page 12 of the decision.) When they post the list, the CPUC will include instructions on where current CTF participants need to send the certification and supporting documentation.

For those that are not on the list, but believe they meet the criteria and would like to appeal (see page 10 of the decision), the CPUC will post instructions on how to do so when the list is posted.

Read the decision here

As soon as we know the list has been posted, we will send out a message letting you know.

Program Integrity Assurance Review

The Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) of the Universal Services Administrative Company (USAC) released new instructions for completing the Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) review. It is highly recommended that those individuals who are responsible for responding to PIA reviews become familiar with the SLD’s Special Edition News Brief that was issued on April 27, 2016. The Special Edition News Brief may be accessed on the SLD’s Web page at http://www.usac.org/sl/tools/news-briefs/preview.aspx?id=687.

E-rate Productivity Center Highlights – Annexes and Entity Numbers

The E-rate program of years past required each site and/or building separated by a public right of way to have its own Entity Number. In its October 9, 2015 newsletter, USAC clarifies specific situations where a new, separate entity number is required. Applicants with multiple locations should carefully review this guidance and make sure their sites have the appropriate Entity Number or are designated as an “annex”.

The following steps outline the process for creating an Annex within the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC).

  1.     Navigate to the EPC portal Web page at www.portal.usac.org.
  2.     From the landing page, select the primary school site by clicking on its name, which will be in blue letters.
  3.     Click on the button labelled “Manage Annexes,” which is located in the upper right corner of the screen.
  4.     On the next screen, click on the green button labelled “Add New Annex”, and fill in the requested information.

Each school or program should then communicate with the Client Services Bureau of USAC to ensure that the prior Entity Numbers are correctly classified as an Annex of the appropriate Entity Number. This may require reclassifying the “old” Entity Number as Inactive. The Client Services Bureau can be reached at 888-203-8100, or by submitting a Customer Service Case within the EPC.

County District School Numbers Within the E-rate Productivity Center

In an effort to improve data quality, facilitate linking of data to other data sets and expedite the validation of applicant data, the CDE recently communicated with the SLD of USAC. The focus of the communication was regarding the CDS code and how it should be entered into each school’s profile in EPC.

The State School Code and the State LEA Code fields are located within the profile for each public school listed in the EPC system. To access the profile, a user must have full or partial rights within EPC. Follow the steps below to update the appropriate fields that will contain the CDS number:

  •          Navigate to the EPC portal Web page at https://portal.usac.org/suite/.
  •          After logging into EPC, click on a site name that appears on the left side of the screen.
  •          Click on the “Manage Organization” button at the top right of the next screen.
  •          Scroll to the bottom of the screen to locate the State School Code and the State LEA Code fields.

(Note: If these fields do not appear, check the School Sub-Type and make sure that Public School is selected.)

  •   Enter the first seven digits of the 14-digit CDS code (i.e., the county-district code) into the field named State LEA Code.
  •   Enter the final seven digits of the 14-digit CDS code into the field named State School Code.
  •          After entering the CDS code in the appropriate fields, click the “Submit” button at the bottom of the screen and provide a “Nickname” for the update.

Those entities that do not have a CDS code should leave the State School Code field and the State LEA Code fields blank.

Schools and Libraries Division 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.