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 was held on the September 7, 2011. The call was moderated by John Noran, Eric Flock and Mick Kraft from the SLD. Here is a brief synopsis of the call.

Note: The below information is not the official minutes from the call, but simply notes from Funds For Learning. The official minutes for this call, as well as call minutes from previous months, can be found here.

Funding Waves

The SLD highlighted the funding waves that were released since the last call in August. In the last month over $250 million was committed from FY2004-2011.

CIPA Update

On August 11, 2011, the FCC released new CIPA rules for applicants to follow. Beginning with Funding Year 2012, that starts July 1, 2012, applicants will need to certify they have updated Internet Safety Policy.

Fall Applicant Training Update

The SLD will hold applicant training sessions held in 8 states starting on September 26, 2011. There are two that are currently open and service providers are welcome to attend. The two that are still open:

  • Minneapolis, MN on October 10
  • Orlando, FL on November 8

FY2010 and 2011 Funds For Learning Rollover Order

On August 22, 2011, the Federal Communications Commission issued an Order which directs USAC to fund Funding Year 2010 Priority 2 applications at all discount levels. The FCC also announced that $850 million will be available for rollover to Funding Year 2011.

Invoicing Update

In the last month, the SLD reimbursed 1075 service providers totaling $223 million. This was against $284.3 million worth of total requests with the SLD reporting that 97% of the invoices were processed within 30 days.

Question and Answer

 

  • There was a question regarding contract expiration dates as it relates to State Master Contracts. The SLD reiterated the guidance that is in the reference section of their site regarding this issue;

 

 

  • In response to an eligibility question about texts and photos, the SLD stated that multimedia messaging could be eligible if used for eligible educational purposes;

 

 

  • Someone had asked about AT&T’s past practice about providing an SO1 report to their customers in order to help them respond to eligibility questions from PIA. The SLD stated that AT&T is not required to provide that report to applicants, however, there should be sufficient level of detail on an invoice in order for the SLD to determine what services are being provided and at what cost;

 

 

  • In the FCC’s Clarification Order there was a footnote that stated, "For example, many cell phones are free or available to the general public at a discounted price with the purchase of a two-year service contract. Schools and libraries are free to take advantage of these deals, without cost allocation, but cannot accept other equipment with service arrangements that are not otherwise available to some segment of the public or class of users." Stakeholders wanted clearer guidance as to how that could relate to other service offerings with other companies. The SLD reminded the participants on the call that this was only a footnote in a much larger Order and that there are many other factors to consider such as the gifting guidance, free services advisory, charitable contributions and competitive bidding rules

 

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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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