The Schools and Libraries Division July 23 unveiled a new Form 486 application, and with it new filing deadlines for the form for Funding Year 4 and beyond.
The timing of the Form 486 becomes important because of requirements that schools and libraries that receive E-rate support for Internet access or internal connections comply with the requirements of the Children's Internet Protection Act. Under the law, affected applicants must certify by Oct. 28, 2001 that they have taken steps to comply with the law. Because of the law, and the need to get applicants to process their paperwork on a more timely basis, the SLD will start enforcing new deadlines for the Form 486.
In the past, although the Form 486 instructions called for the form to be filed within first five and then 10 days of the start of services, the SLD has not enforced that deadline. The new law changes that, and the applicable deadline will depend on when a funding commitment letter is received and when services are actually delivered. Here's how it works:
- When an applicant receives a funding commitment letter before Oct. 28, and confirms that services will be delivered before that date, it can file the Form 486 before services are started;
- When an applicant receives a funding commitment letter before Oct. 28, and begins receiving services on or before Oct. 28, it MUST file a Form 486 by Oct. 28 in order to receive discounts retroactively to its service start date;
- When an applicant receives a funding commitment letter after Oct. 28, but started services on or before Oct. 28, it must submit the Form 486 no later than 120 days after receiving its funding commitment in order to receive discounts retroactively to the service start date;
- When an applicant receives a funding commitment before the service start date, and the start date is after Oct. 28, the Form 486 must be postmarked no later than 120 days after the Service Start Date included on the Form 486. If it is received later than that, the postmark date will become the new Service Start Date and the SLD will not provide discounts for services rendered before that date.
- When the funding commitment decision letter is received after Oct. 28, and after the service start date, the Form 486 must be postmarked no later than 120 days after the date of the funding commitment letter. If it is received later than 120 days after the date of the funding commitment decisions letter, the permissible service start date will be set 120 days before the postmark date of the Form 486. The SLD will not provide discounts for services rendered before that date. (This section of the Form 486 instructions was corrected after it was initially released.)
A full version of the instructions is available at https://www.usac.org/e-rate/applicant-process/starting-services/fcc-form-486-filing/.