The day-to-day operations of the E-rate program will continue as normal even though the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may suspend its operations on January 3, 2019. E-rate applicants and service providers are encouraged to continue filing paperwork and responding to inquiries from USAC, the E-rate program administrator. For example:
- The competitive bidding requirements remain active and applicants can post new Form 470 requests for proposals.
- The funding year 2019 filing window is still scheduled to open January 16, 2019.
- The deadline for many funding year 2017 non-recurring service invoices is still January 28, 2019.
The FCC may be forced to pause its work because of the partial shutdown of the federal government. Fortunately, the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) that administers the E-rate program is not funded through the appropriations process. Therefore, USAC employees and their contractors will be able to continue to work, reviewing Form 471 applications, releasing funding commitments, and processing E-rate payment paperwork as they typically do.