The SLD reported that on September 19, 2016, their E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) is not available for stakeholders to use due to “known system issues”. This is the third time since September 15 that the EPC system has experienced an outage. The SLD is currently working to resolve the technical issue. 

These outages are difficult for applicants, particularly administrators and technology directors who may only have certain time periods in a given day or week to dedicate to E-rate issues. Because application review questions are time-sensitive, applicants are encouraged to request additional time to complete their responses.

Earlier this year, Funds For Learning pointed out that FY2015 funds were being disbursed at a record pace and that the schools and libraries community largely supported the FCC’s reform efforts; however, applicants recently have grown more frustrated because of the slow pace of the FY2016 funding commitments and the on-going challenges with EPC.

I hope that the SLD can fix EPC soon and that any changes to EPC tied to FY2017 will be vetted and beta tested by stakeholders prior to release.  It is essential that EPC receive the feedback that any major software development deserves before officially being launched.

Update:
On September 22, USAC issued a special news brief acknowledging the on-going challenges with EPC system. Click here to read the USAC special edition news brief.