In August 2017, USAC provided new guidance to applicants and service providers tied to the competitive bidding process for certain Category One services. The guidance was confusing, and many stakeholders voiced their concerns regarding potential negative impact when USAC starts denying applicants who acted in good faith but may have not followed the letter of the new guidance tied to drop down menu on the Form 470 for “Internet Access and Transport Bundled and Transport Only-NO ISP Service” drop down menus. The FCC is now directing USAC to not deny these applications where the Form 470 was posted based on the needs of the district, but “…. may have been inconsistent with USAC’s guidance on which services to select from the FCC Form 470 drop-down menu within EPC online portal…”
Funds For Learning filed comments on March 18, 2018, encouraging the FCC to direct USAC not to deny thousands of potential applications because of USAC confusing guidance. Funds For Learning noted that:
- There were 13,551 applicants who submitted funding year 2018 FCC Form 470’s for internet and data services as of March 18, 2018;
- As of March 18, 2018, 7,535 applicants have submitted funding requests referencing a FY 2018 Form 470;
- At least 12,249 service agreements and contracts for data and Internet have been awarded;
- $254 million already have been requested for Internet services tied to FY 2018 Form 470s and many more were being finalized before the close of the FY 2018 filing window
The FCC letter to USAC outlining the Form 470 drop down guidance can be viewed here.