On September 16, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission issued an Order creating a second E-rate filing window for Funding Year 2020 to provide funding for “additional bandwidth needed to meet the unanticipated and increased demand for on-campus connectivity resulting from the pandemic.”
Citing as precedent past relief efforts initiated in response to natural disasters, and recognizing the “dramatic and unanticipated reliance on remote learning this fall” due to COVID-19, the FCC will “open a second funding year 2020 application window to allow schools to request additional E-Rate discounts for the limited purpose of purchasing additional bandwidth to meet the unanticipated and increased demand for on-campus connectivity.” Funding available via the second window is limited to on-campus Category One internet access and/or data transmission services only.
Applicants will be allowed to request additional discounts in the second window “without conducting additional competitive bidding” as long as they already sought discounts for Category One services via FY2020 Forms 470 and 471. In addition, “USAC shall grant funding requests from applicants seeking funding where the price per megabit is the same or less than the original contract. Alternatively, if the price per megabit is higher than the original contract, USAC will limit the funding commitment to the price per megabit in the original contract.”
The second FY2020 filing window will open upon publication of the Order in the Federal Register and will close on October 16, 2020.
The FCC Order may be found here