[NHDOE-ETNews] ET News: E-Rate Updates

Freeda, Stanley Stanley.Freeda at doe.nh.gov
Mon Feb 24 07:04:46 EST 2014

Funding Status

The FY 2014 application window will close on Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. The Form 470 deadline for FY 2014 is this Wednesday (see below).

Wave 40 for FY 2013 will be released on Wednesday, February 26, 2014, for $47.2 million. Funding is currently being provided for Priority 1 services only. Cumulative funding for FY 2013 will be $1.90 billion.

Wave 78 for FY 2012 will be released on Thursday, February 27, 2014, for $5.4 million. Priority 2 funding is being provided at the 90% discount level only. Cumulative funding for FY 2012 will be $2.85 billion.

FCC Outreach on Forthcoming Public Notice

During his recent Digital Learning Day speech on the FCC’s E-rate modernization plans, Chairman Wheeler indicated that the FCC was planning to issue a public notice for comment shortly. Last week, building on the Chairman’s pledge to create a more open FCC, the FCC’s E-rate working group reached out to a number of stakeholder groups to provide a broad preview of what that Public Notice might contain. The FCC staff indicated that the Public Notice should be issued within the next couple of weeks, will provide a relatively short period for comment (unfortunately overlapping with the E-rate filing window period), and will be designed to lead to an E-rate order no later than August before the school year begins. The FCC’s goal is to begin the E-Rate 2.0 modernization process effective for FY 2015.

The corollary to this public notice process is that no changes to the E-rate rules appear to be contemplated for FY 2014. An Official FCC Blog<http://www.fcc.gov/blog/wall-desk-facilitating-21st-century-digital-learning>, released last week, reinforces our suspicion that there will be no Priority 2 funding for FY 2013, and that Priority 2 funding for FY 2014 is also unlikely.

Based on the FCC staff’s outreach last week, it is expected that the forthcoming public notice will focus on the following five areas:

  1.  Options for revising Priority 2 funding allocation rules to promote broadband connectivity within buildings (think “WiFi”). Based on last summer’s NPRM and related comments, options are likely to include:

     *   Cyclical funding of Priority 2 for all applicants;

     *   Changing the 2-in5 rule to 1-in-5; and/or

     *   Providing a specific amount of annual funding per applicant, perhaps on a per-student basis.

  2.  Options for encouraging Priority 1 broadband connectivity to underserved schools and libraries. This might include additional funding for installation charges as a means of making recurring monthly costs more affordable.

  3.  Consideration of the ongoing eligibility of voice services, including cellular.

  4.  Strategies for driving down network costs through more cost-effective purchasing methods and/or funding for neutral third-party network design assistance.

  5.  Possible funding of demonstration projects involving bulk purchasing and network design.

The FCC has indicated that the forthcoming public notice will be much more focused than last summer’s NPRM, in part because the FCC views E-rate modernization to be a step-wise process for which the first order will be just the first step.

E-Rate Updates and Reminders

Form 470 Deadline:

This year’s deadline for filing a valid FY 2014 Form 470 and/or RFP is this Wednesday, February 26, 2014. Waiting until the deadline leaves no room for error. Because a Form 470 must be posted for 28 days, a February 26th filing would mean that on March 26th the applicant would have to:

  *   Select vendors

  *   Sign contracts, if required

  *   File a Form 471 — the final day of the FY 2014 application window!

Form 486 Deadlines:

Typically, a Form 486 must be filed no later than 120 days from FCDL issuance or the start of service, whichever is later. Assuming services started July 1, 2013, the deadlines for FY 2013 funding waves 1-23 have already passed. The Form 486 deadlines for the remainder of February and March are:

Wave 24 02/27/2014

Wave 25 03/06/2014

Wave 26 03/14/2014

Wave 27 03/20/2014

Wave 28 03/27/2014

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