In a press release dated September 16, 2020, the State E-rate Coordinators' Alliance (SECA) praised the FCC’s action to open a second E-rate FY 2020 filing window that will provide additional funding to schools whose on-campus Internet needs and costs have increased due to the COVID-19 emergency.
Download the Press Release
The FCC has announced the opening of a second application window to make available additional E-Rate funding to schools in funding year 2020 to purchase additional bandwidth needed to meet the unanticipated and increased demand for on-campus connectivity resulting from the pandemic. The window will close on October 16, 2020.
During this window, schools may submit an FCC Form 471 during the second funding year 2020 application window requesting E-Rate discounts without initiating a new competitive bidding process for the requested services if the applicant: (1) already sought bids for the services by posting an FCC Form 470; (2) received a Funding Commitment Decision Letter from USAC approving a funding year 2020 funding request for eligible category one Internet access and/or data transmission services that relied on that FCC Form 470, or has such a funding request pending; and (3) requests additional E-Rate discounts during the second application window to purchase additional bandwidth through the existing service provider or a new one.
Download News Release
Download FCC Order DA-20-1091
On September 4, 2020, the FCC released the results of its efforts to identify use of Huawei and ZTE equipment and services in U.S. telecommunications networks that receive support from the federal Universal Service Fund.
The Commission’s November 2019 order barring the use of USF support for the purchase of equipment and services from companies that pose a national security threat initially designated Huawei and ZTE as covered entities and directed Commission staff to conduct this information collection. In June 2020, the Commission’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau issued final designations of Huawei and ZTE as posing national security threats to the integrity of communications networks.
This announcement includes a list of eligible telecommunications carriers, or their affiliates and subsidiaries, that have reported using at least some Huawei and ZTE equipment or services in their networks.
Although the burden is on these carriers to fix these problems, applicants using these carriers may want to seek assurances that corrective actions are being taken.
On March 18, 2020, the FCC temporarily waived the Commission's gift rules applicable to the RHC and E-rate programs to assist rural health care providers and schools and libraries affected by the pandemic. These waivers were set to expire on September 30, 2020.
In an order released on September 3, 2020 these gift rule waivers have been extended through December 31, 2020. The order also directs USAC to provide a 30-day extension to E-rate program participants impacted by the pandemic that request extension to respond to certain USAC information requests issued through December 31, 2020, including those related to PIA requests.
SECA filed a letter with the FCC asking for relief for additional bandwidth funding and for the gift rule waiver to be extended through 6/30/2021. Additional information was provided in a supplemental letter.
Download Letter to FCC re COVID Relief PDF (8/3/2020)
Download Supplemental Letter to FCC re COVID Relief PDF (8/27/2020)
USAC's FY2021+ Category 2 Budget Tool is designed to assist E-rate applicants in determining their Category Two budgets for each five-year cycle beginning with the first budget cycle, which starts in FY2021 and ends in FY2025.
USAC has created a video tutorial for using this tool.
Two related notices regarding the E-rate Form 470 were released in the FCC Daily Digest on June 8, 2020.
WIRELINE COMPETITION BUREAU AND THE OFFICE OF THE MANAGING DIRECTOR PROVIDE GUIDANCE TO USAC REGARDING ITS APPLICATION OF THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION'S E-RATE COMPETITIVE BIDDING RULES FOR FUNDING YEAR 2020
(DA No. 20-597) (Docket No. 13-184)
The letter provides guidance to USAC on applying E-rate competitive bidding rules for Funding Year 2020 including that “for funding year 2020, [the Commission] direct[s] USAC not to deny any application or issue a commitment adjustment for any application solely because the applicant selected the “Internet Access: ISP Service Only (No Transport Circuit Included)” drop-down menu option and subsequently selected on its FCC Form 471 a service that delivers Internet access to its premises. For those applications, USAC should not find a competitive bidding violation so long as the applicant has otherwise complied with all of the Commission’s competitive bidding rules.”
Download DA-20-597 PDF
WIRELINE COMPETITION BUREAU AND OFFICE OF THE MANAGING DIRECTOR DEFER CHANGES TO FCC FORM 470 TO MINIMIZE BURDENS ON SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES IMPACTED BY COVID-19
(DA No. 20-598) (Docket No. 13-184)
The FCC Form 470 will remain unchanged for funding year 2021 to allow schools and libraries to continue to focus their time and resources on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Download DA-20-598 PDF
USAC released the first FY2020 Funding Commitment Decision Letters on Saturday, May 9, 2020. Wave 1 included 27,078 FRNs and committed over $680 million in applicant funding.
To provide relief to E-Rate program participants affected by this unprecedented national pandemic, the FCC temporarily waives and extends several E-Rate filing and service implementation deadlines, as provided herein.
Two orders were issued. The original order DA-20-364A1 was released on April 1, 2020. An Erratum order was released on April 13, 2020 to accommodate deadlines for application years prior to 2019.
Download DA-20-364A1 PDF
Download Erratum PDF
WCB reminds schools and libraries that are closed due to the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak that they are permitted to allow the general public to use E-Rate-supported Wi-Fi networks while on the school's campus or library property.
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