E-rate Updates

Funding Year 2013 E-rate Eligible Services List – On July 5, 2012, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released the draft Eligible Services List (ESL) for FY2013. The ESL is updated by the FCC once per year, and each year a draft ESL is published so E-rate stakeholders have an opportunity to comment on the proposed changes. After the comment deadline, submitted comments are reviewed and the final ESL is published, which governs E-rate eligibility for products and services purchased with E-rate discounts within the applicable funding year.

The FY2013 draft does not include significant changes to the eligibility of currently eligible products and services. However, the Priority 1 section of the document has been reorganized into “categories that reflect how school and library applicants plan for and seek technology and services.”

Schools and Libraries Division Issues the Largest Funding Wave in the History of E-rate – On July 10, 2012, the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) issued the first funding wave for FY2012 – the largest wave in the history of the E-rate program – committing $646 million for more than 16,000 applicants. This record-setting wave was followed closely by an additional $62 million commitment on July 11.

USAC will continue to issue funding decisions each week until all funding decisions have been processed.

Additional Monies Identified for Funding Year 2012 – Alongside the largest funding commitment in E-rate history, USAC also announced that it had indentified additional funds that can be carried over from past funding years in order to meet the program demand for FY2012. On July 10, USAC Chief Operating Officer Richard A. Belden filed a letter with the FCC, stating that USAC has identified an additional $650 million that can be carried over for distribution in subsequent funding years. Combined with the previously identified $400 million, USAC states that it should be able to carry forward a total of $1.050 billion, a figure which it believes “would be sufficient to make commitments at the 90% discount level for Priority 2 requests for Funding Year 2012.”

While the carryover requires FCC approval, the additional funds will seemingly alleviate some of the substantial divide between the amount requested for FY2012 ($5.23 billion) and the amount of available funding ($2.3 billion).

Funding Year 2013 Form 470 Available – On July 13, 2012, the USAC announced that Forms 470 for FY2013 may now be filed. The Form 470 “Description of Services Requested and Certification Form” is an applicant form that must be filed to seek competitive bids for products and services for E-rate discounts.

The announcement came with an important notice for applicants that had filed the FY2012 Form 470 for FY2013. USAC stated that while applicants could file the FY2012 Forms 470 for contracted services on a FY2013 funding request, FY2012 470s may not be used for tariff or month-to-month services on a FY2013 application.

source: Funds for Learning