Last week the FCC released the Alaska Gateway School District, et al. Order which grouped 128 appeals together and remanded them back to USAC. All 128 appeals involved a failure to timely file a Form 486.
In each case, the FCC found there was good reason to waive the Form 486 filing deadline. The FCC recognized that while the deadline for filing the Form 486 may be a procedural deadline, the Form 486 does contain a necessary CIPA certification and the actual filing of the form is not being waived.
The FCC has ordered USAC "to develop targeted outreach procedures designed to better inform applicants of approaching FCC Form 486 filing deadlines and to provide applicants with a 15-day opportunity to file or amend the form." USAC was further instructed "to develop a targeted outreach program designed to identify schools and libraries that have not filed their FCC Form 486 120 days from the date of their funding commitment decision letter or service start date, whichever is later." In this ruling the FCC explained the rationale behind the timeframe by stating, "The 15-day period is limited enough to ensure that funding decisions are not unreasonably delayed for E-rate applicants and should be sufficient time to correct truly unintentional ministerial and clerical errors."