E-Rate Central News for the Week
May 28, 2012
The E-Rate Central News for the Week is prepared by E-Rate Central. E-Rate Central specializes in providing consulting, compliance, and forms processing services to E-rate applicants. To learn more about our services, please contact us by phone (516-801-7804), fax (516-801-7814), or through our Contact Us Web form. Additional E-rate information is located on the E-Rate Central Web site.
The FCC announced that the inflation-adjusted E-rate program funding cap for FY 2012 is $2.34 billion, up 2.1% from FY 2011This is the third year in which the cap has been adjusted upwards; the percentage increase in both FY 2010 and FY 2011 was only 0.9% each year.
Based on USAC's preliminary estimate of FY 2012 demand (discussed in our newsletter of April 30th), the cap represents roughly the amount USAC will need to cover Priority 1 requests and its own administrative expenses. This means that Priority 2 funding will be fully dependent upon roll-over funding to be set by the FCC this summer. Initial indications are that funding for Priority 2 may not be fully available even at 90%. The first funding wave for FY 2012 is expected shortly and will include Priority 1 services only.
For the second week in a row, funding will be minimal. No funding at all will be released for FY 2011. Wave 95 for FY 2010 will be released on Wednesday, May 30thThis will be a very small wave providing Priority 1 funding of only $270 thousand for four applicants. Cumulative funding for FY 2010 is $3.04 billion.
E-Rate Updates and Reminders
Registration for SLD Fall Training:
The SLD opened registration for the eight regional applicant training sessions it has planned for October/NovemberThese sessions tend to become oversubscribed, so early registration is recommended. Online registration links to the individual sessions are as follows:
||Monday, October 1
||Tuesday, October 9
|Saint Louis, Missouri
||Tuesday, October 16
||Thursday, October 18
|Newark, New Jersey
||Tuesday, October 23
||Tuesday, October 30
||Thursday, November 1
|Los Angeles, California
||Wednesday, November 7
FCC Appeal Decisions Watch:
The FCC continues to address its backlog of E-rate appeals. Last week's decisions are summarized below.
- The FCC released one broad decision last week (DA 12-796) addressing late-filed Form 471 applications, mostly for FY 2012. The decision granted filing deadline waivers for 56 applicants, but denied 18 others. "Consistent with precedent," most of the waivers were given to applicants who had either (1) missed the deadline by two weeks or less, or (2) had missed it by 30 days or less and had been delayed for medical reasons The FCC denied waiver requests when it determined that the petitioners had "failed to present special circumstances."
- In a narrower decision (DA 12-797), dealing with older appeals dating back to FY 2001, the FCC denied five petitioners who failed to show that certain entities were eligible for E-rate support.
- The FCC granted (DA 12-812), in part, an appeal by Sprint Nextel on behalf of a California applicant. The ruling confirmed the eligibility of mobile broadband Internet service in FY 2006, but stressed that only on-campus usage was eligible and that off-campus usage must be cost-allocated out of the request The FCC also confirmed that the mobile cards, themselves, are not eligible.
- The FCC also cleaned up two other appeals, affecting four applicants, by dismissing them as moot (DA 12-771).
Tech Plan and CIPA Deadline Reminders:
With only about a month remaining before the start of FY 2012, school applicants for services other than pure telecommunications are reminded that their Internet safety policies must be updated to include a component regarding the education of minors about appropriate online behavior (including cyberbullying). Priority 2 applicants with technology plan approvals expiring June 30, 2012, need to have updated plans approved for the coming year. Additional information on these deadlines is available in our newsletter of April 23rd.
SLD System Problems:
The SLD, which has been taking its systems offline for maintenance over the last couple of weekends, is still working to resolve some outstanding problems with the DRT and the Form 486 notification processAs of Friday, a small subset of FY 2012 applications and funding data for Waves 45-46 for FY 2011 are not showing up in the DRT. Please note that E-Rate Central's funding history tools, which rely on the DRT, will also be missing this data until the SLD's system problems are resolved.
Schools and Libraries News Brief Dated May 25 – Summer Contact Procedures
The SLD's News Brief for May 25, 2012, discusses the procedures the SLD uses to contact applicants over the summer. These procedures went into effect last Friday, May 25th, and will remain in effect until the Friday after Labor Day, September 7th.
Summer contact procedures are designed to place pending applications on hold — rather than deny them for failing to respond to PIA inquiries — during the period when many schools and libraries are closed and/or when E-rate contacts are on vacationAlthough PIA usually initiates inquiries using the applicants' preferred modes of contact, the procedure during the summer is to telephone contacts to make sure they (or their designated alternates) are available. If they cannot be reached by telephone, the applications are placed on hold until after September 7th. While this avoids summer denials, it also delays the reviews necessary to approve the applications.
The News Brief warns that the summer procedures do not apply to application reviews that were begun before May 25th. Note that such reviews are not confirmed personally by telephone. So, for example, an inquiry successfully e-mailed or faxed to an applicant before this date will be treated as a valid contact triggering the 15-day response deadline.