On May 14, 2021, the Federal Communications Commission requested emergency approval of modifications to the FCC Form 471 for the Emergency Connectivity Fund program from the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB.) The OMB approved the emergency authorization on May 20, an important milestone in the race to open the first ECF application window.
The ECF Form 471 includes several key changes from the E-rate Form 471, including:
- ECF applicants may manually specify a service provider if that provider does not have an FCC Form 498 ID (SPIN.) If a SPIN is not provided, the applicant must supply the company name as well as contact information for a company representative.
- The ECF Form 471 requests the exact raw percentage of students in a school district eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program. This figure will be used to prioritize application approval in the event that overall funds requested exceed the ECF program’s $7.1B allocation.
- The ECF Form 471 asks a series of questions about applicants’ unmet device and connectivity need at the start of the pandemic, its current unmet need, and how the ECF funds requested are expected to influence the unmet need.
- The ECF Form 471 requires applicants to choose the SPI or BEAR invoicing methods. If SPI is chosen, the applicant must provide proof of service providers’ willingness to utilize SPI billing.