The Schools and Libraries Division announced November 5 that the application filing window for the 2005 E-rate funding year will open December 14, 2004 and close February 17, 2005.
The deadline is about 14 days later than in the last few E-rate application windows, but the window period is also about 30 days shorter than in recent years. The opening date is in line with a new Federal Communications Commission rule requiring the agency to issue the final version of the Eligible Services List for the coming year at least 60 days before the opening of the filing window. The new list was released in mid-October.
Under the timetable, the last possible date that an applicant could file a Form 470 application and leave enough time for the required 28-day posting period would be January 20, 2005. However, because of the requirement that contracts be awarded, negotiated and signed before a Form 471 is filed, applicants are advised not to wait to the last minute to post their Form 470 applications.
Form 470 applications can be posted before the filing window opens, and should be posted at the same time an applicant issues an RFP or begins a procurement process for products and services on which it hopes to seek E-rate discounts.