E-Rate Central News for the Week
March 23, 2009
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 (516-832-2887) or through our Contact Us Web form Additional E-rate information is located on the E-Rate Central Web site.
FY 2007 – FY 2008 Funding Status
Wave 44 for FY 2008 is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, March 24th, for $11.2 million - including $777 thousand for five New York applicants. Total FY 2008 funding is $2.19 billion, including $367 million for New York. Priority 2 services continue to be funded at 88% and above, and denied at 86% and below.
No funding wave for FY 2007 is expected this week.
E-Rate Updates and Reminders
Response Deadline for "No Cert" Letters is Today:
Three weeks ago, the SLD sent out "Notification of Form 471 with No Certification" letters to approximately 600 applicants who had filed Form 471s online in a timely fashion, but who had not certified those applications. As of last Friday, the SLD reported that over 400 Form 471s had still not been certified. The deadline for providing those certifications is March 23rd.
ADA Exemption for 2009:
The Omnibus Appropriations Bill, enacted March 11th, contained a provision to again temporarily exempt E-rate funding from the restrictions of the Anti-Deficiency Act ("ADA"). The new exemption will expire December 31, 2009. Although this year's exemption may provide an additional safety factor for continued E-rate funding (probably unnecessary in light of the existing $4-5 billion E-rate reserve fund), it is unlikely to affect USAC's E-rate funding policies.
PIA Requests for Telecommunications Service Descriptions:
Applicants have been reporting more in depth questions from PIA regarding their funding requests for telecommunications services. Details are being requested on both transport methods and bandwidth, and for cost allocations for bundled packages of telecom services, even for local and long distance. We suspect that one reason additional information is being requested is to provide benchmarks in support of federal broadband initiatives.
New SPIN for Time Warner Telecom:
The group of Time Warner Telecom companies, previously operating under different names and SPINs in various states, is now using a consolidated name and SPIN for E-rate purposes - TW Telecom Holdings, Inc. (143032782). For New York customers, this replaces TW Telecom of New York, LP (143000029).
The company filed a global SPIN change with the SLD which will relieve its customers from the need to file individual SPIN changes. SPIN 143000029 has been updated to 143032782 in the SLD database for all previously funded FRNs (FY 2008 or earlier). Unfunded FRNs (including all those for FY 2009 FRNs) have not yet been updated, but presumably will be once funding is awarded. Applicants filing BEARS for TW Telecom reimbursements should now use the new SPIN.
The SLD's latest News Brief of March 20, 2009, discusses the four categories of product and service eligibility - eligible, conditionally eligible, partially eligible, and ineligible - and the associated information which may be requested during PIA application review.
The differences between services that are purely eligible or ineligible are usually well-defined. The primary source document for these distinctions is the Eligible Services List for FY 2009.
The more complex eligibility issues involve conditionally or partially eligible services, often requiring cost allocations. The following is a brief outline of the key points in the latest News Brief:
- Conditionally eligible services are those which are eligible only if used under certain conditions, e.g.:
- File servers are eligible if used for network distribution, e-mail, and Web hosting, but not for application and file storage functions.
- Basic maintenance is only eligible when used to maintain eligible equipment.
- Digital transmission services between school or library locations are eligible as Internet services (which need not be provided by an eligible telecommunications provider) if they are used only for basic access to the Internet, not to provide other telecommunications services.
- Partially eligible services must generally be cost allocated. While there is no single prescribed method to allocate costs, the allocations "must be based on tangible criteria that reach realistic results." Acceptable approaches include:
- If a service is used for multiple purposes, an equal share of the costs may be allocated for each purpose.
- Allocations can also be based on usage statistics.
- The cost of products, such as a UPS or a rack, that support partially eligible equipment, must be equivalently allocated.
- Applicants should check with their service providers to see if the SLD has already determined appropriate allocation percentages based on vendor-supplied information supplied.
- Under limited circumstances, ancillary use of ineligible components need not be allocated.