As calendar year 2019 draws to a close, we take a look back at major E-rate news headlines from the past year.
 
A major shift in program administration
January 1, 2019 marked the start date for USAC’s new third-party contractor, MAXIMUS.
Form 471 filing window runs on time
USAC opened the annual filing window on January 15 and closed it on March 27. While overall Category One requests declined for the fourth straight year, Category Two requests bucked the trend and showed a strong increase.
Most well-rounded “first wave” in program history
FY2019 Wave 001 was released on April 27, 2019, with commitments totaling more than $530M. Funding commitments continued at a strong pace, albeit somewhat behind FY2018’s record pace.
E-rate support more important than ever
A record number of E-rate applicants participated in a nationwide survey, and their responses were remarkably consistent: the E-rate program plays an essential role in delivering more cost-effective Internet access to our nation’s communities.
The year in Category Two reform
Over the course of 2019, the FCC took steps to make major changes to the way Category Two funding requests were administered, culminating in a December 3 Report and Order which charted the way forward for the foreseeable future.
Other regulatory activity
Numerous FCC Orders were issued during the year aimed at improving the efficiency of the program, granting relief for natural disasters, and targeting waste, fraud, and abuse.