USAC’s Schools and Libraries Division hosts monthly conference calls, providing information and guidance for service providers participating in the E-rate program. The monthly call for March was held on the 2nd. Here is a brief synopsis of the call.

Note: The below information is not the official minutes from the call, but simply notes from a call participant. The official minutes for the March 2nd call, as well as call minutes from previous months, can be found here.

Funding Waves

Since the February call, USAC approved six funding waves for FY09 and FY10. For FY2009, USAC is denying Priority 2 funding requests at 76% and below and funding approved requests at 77% and above. The funding threshold is likely to remain at this level for the duration of the FY09 requests.

At the time of the call, USAC issued FY09 waves 80 on 02/09 for $9.6M and 81 on 02/23 for $3.7M.

For Funding Year 2010, USAC is currently denying Priority 2 funding requests at 79% and below and approving requests at 81% and above. For Funding Year 2010, USAC issued waves 37 on 02/08 for $53.4M, 38 on 02/15 for $33.2M, 39 on 02/22 for $39.8M, and 40 on 03/01 for $14.7M.

FY 2011 Filing Window

The deadline for posting the Form 470 was February 24th. It is highly unlikely that any Forms 470 posted after the 24th will be funded.

The conclusion of filing window and Form 471 deadline is March 24th. For FY2011, Item 21 Attachments must be filed within the window.

Applicants that have filed the Form 471 but not the Items 21 will receive a letter reminding them of the new requirement. If the Items 21 are not posted by the deadline, applicants will have 20 days to file the required attachments. PIA cannot start until the Items 21 are received.

Placeholder SPIN

If a service provider does not have a SPIN, applicants can use a placeholder SPIN. This number will be available by the last week of the filing window.

If a service provider needs a SPIN, they should file a Form 498.

Service Provider Training

The SLD will hold two trainings for E-rate service. The first training will be held on May 3rd in Los Angeles, CA and the second training will be held on May 12th in Atlanta, GA. Each session is limited to 150 participants. There is a waiting list for the Atlanta training.

Cost Allocations on Basic Maintenance Contracts

In the USAC News Brief released February 18, 2011, USAC provided updated guidance regarding cost-allocation of Basic Maintenance funding requests. This News Brief is available on the USAC website.

From the call, applicants will be able to cost allocate the eligible products from existing basic maintenance contracts.

Four specific scenarios where cost-allocation will be allowed are addressed: 1) contracts containing eligible and ineligible maintenance services, 2) contracts containing eligible and ineligible maintenance services and equipment purchases, 3) contracts which contain eligible maintenance services for cost-allocated equipment, and 4) contracts which contain eligible maintenance services which cover a mixture of eligible and ineligible equipment.

Stakeholders should watch for further guidance from USAC before the close of the filing window.

Rejected Reimbursement Requests

Automatic rejection may result due to clerical error. If your reimbursement was rejected due to clerical error, you may correct the error and resubmit.

If the reimbursement was rejected for reasons outside of clerical error, the stakeholder must file an appeal.

Question and Answer

  1. Q: What limitations, if any, are there for service providers to communicate complete and accurate E-rate program information? For example, can a service provider let applicants know that "most cost effective" is not the same as "lowest cost" and provide information from the USAC website about this? Would this be considered "neutral" program information even though applicants could end up selecting a highly "cost effective" service provider rather than the "lowest cost" service provider?

    A: (From USAC) The best guidance is to think, “If my competitor did this, would I feel unfairly disadvantaged in the competitive bidding process?” If yes, don’t do it.

    Pointing an applicant to the USAC website is neutral information.

Let Funds For Learning be your E-rate guide in 2011. Continue to check www.fundsforlearning.com for the latest updates and E-rate news.

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