On September 2, 2021, Funds For Learning conducted an Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) Webinar. Discussion topics included:
- Initial ECF Filing Window Demand
- Common PIA Questions
- Funding Commitment Timeline
- Reimbursement Process
- Second ECF Filing Window
Thank you to all who attended the September 2nd ECF Webinar. The ECF Webinar recording and presentation slides are available here for download. Our next webinar is scheduled for October 6th at 11 am EST. Register here for the upcoming event.
Check out the list below of the most frequently asked questions received in the concluded ECF Webinar along with answers based on currently available information. All responses are subject to change as the FCC releases additional guidelines.
Q: What type of devices are eligible for ECF?
A: The following devices are eligible for ECF: Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, air-cards, tablets, and hotspots.
Q: Are devices that will not be in use until after the funding year, eligible for ECF?
A: Any devices that are not going to be deployed to students or staff during the funding year (July 2021-June 2022) are not eligible for ECF.
Q: Is the service for hotspots eligible if I purchased the hotspot device before July 2021 but the services for the hotspots does not end until July 2022?
A: Yes, hotspot services are eligible for ECF regardless of when the hotspot device was purchased. Please keep in mind however that only the services from July 2021-June 2022 are eligible for reimbursement.
Initial filing window
Q: When will applications start getting funded?
A: USAC has a goal to issue funding commitments for 50% of all workable applications by October 12th.
Q: How will I know I my application filed in the first filing window has received a funding commitment?
A: USAC will issue a Funding Commitment Decision Letter (FCDL) to both the applicant and the service provider in the ECF Portal
Q: Will all my applications get funded at the same time?
A: USAC reviews each application individually, not by entity. This means that there is no guarantee that multiple applications will receive a funding commitment at the same time for an entity.
Second Filing Window
Q: What is the second filing window?
A: A second ECF application filing window will open on September 28, 2021 and close on October 13, 2021. During this second filing window, eligible schools and libraries can apply for funding to purchase eligible equipment and services between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022.
Q: If we applied for the first filing window can we apply in the 2nd filing window?
A: Yes, you can apply for the second filing window even if you applied for the first filing window. Keep in mind you will need to be able to provide documentation that shows there are students, staff or library patrons that have an unmet need for the products or services you are applying for in the 2nd filing window.
Program Integrity Assurance (PIA)
Q: If we applied for ECF and it’s in review but not approved and haven’t heard anything yet, do we reapply?
A: We do not suggest re-applying as USAC could see this as duplicative services and that could lead to a delay in the schools receiving any funding. Also, applying again for the same products would tie up funds for potential applicants who truly need access to funds in the 2nd filing window.
Q: How long will it take to hear back about my application?
A: The application review stage does not have a set deadline. The FCC has established a goal of processing 50% of all workable applications within 60 days of the filing window closing. In general, ECF FCC Forms 471 are reviewed in the order in which they are received, although a lot of variables can cause certain reviews to take longer than anticipated.
Q: Can an applicant change their reimbursement method (BEAR/SPI) now that the filing window is closed?
A: Yes, a method will be established for applicants to change the reimbursement method.
Q: When should applicants file for reimbursements for devices?
A: Applicants will an invoicing deadline of 60 days from the date of the funding commitment decision letter, a revised funding commitment decision letter approving a post-commitment change or a successful appeal of a previously denied or reduced funding, or from the service end date (August 29th, 2022, if the service end date on was listed as June 30th, 2022 on the application)
Q: What frequency can invoicing be done for monthly recurring services?
A: After receiving a funding commitment, applicants may invoice USAC for reimbursement monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, etc. for services delivered.
Q: We have answered PIA questions from USAC, but have not received a funding commitment. What is the timeline for this?
A: The FCC has set a goal to issue 50% of funding commitments by 60 days from the close of the filing window (October 12th), and 70% by 100 days from the close of the filing window (November 21st).
Q: Can we appeal a funding decision?
A: Applicants may appeal a funding denial or reduction within 30 days of receiving a funding commitment decision letter.