News

SLD News – 3/15/13 Focus: Post 471 Window Closing

 March 15, 2013

TIP OF THE WEEK: Be sure to organize and keep the documents you relied on to prepare and submit your FCC Form(s) 471 (see below). USAC may request one or more of these documents during the review of your application.

Commitments for Funding Year 2012

Funding Year 2012. USAC will release Funding Year (FY) 2012 Wave 35 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) March 18. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 2 (Internal Connections and Basic Maintenance) requests at 90 percent and denials at 89 percent and below. As of March 15, FY2012 commitments total over $1.98 billion.

On the day the FCDLs are mailed, you can check to see if you have a commitment by using USAC’s Automated Search of Commitments tool. 

Next Steps Related to the FY2013 Filing Window

Now that the window has closed – and before you return to other pressing concerns – we suggest that you take the time to complete or prepare for the next steps in the application process.

Submit your Item 21 attachments.

If you have not already submitted your Item 21 attachments, do so as soon as possible. If you submitted your FCC Form 471 online, you can use your Form 471 application number and security code to submit your Item 21 attachments online. Review the Item 21 Attachments guidance document on the USAC website for the specific information you need to include and for other filing options.

Certify your FCC Form 471.

Within the next few weeks, USAC will issue a reminder letter to applicants identifying all FCC Forms 471 submitted online on or before the last day of the filing window but not yet certified. Applicants will have 20 days from the date of that letter to certify the FCC Form 471 and still have the form be considered in-window. FCC Forms 471 certified after the deadline in the letter will be considered out-of-window. Again, we encourage you to certify your FCC Form 471 now rather than waiting for the reminder letter.

To check the status of an FCC Form 471, click the “Application Status” button in the Form 471 column of the Apply Online page. Enter the Billed Entity Number and choose the funding year, then click the “Continue” button on the following page to pull up a list of FCC Forms 471 filed by that Billed Entity with their current statuses. You can also view an individual form and its status using the “Display” button.

Certify any FCC Form 470 that you cited on a funding request.

Each FCC Form 470 cited in Item 12 of a Form 471 Block 5 funding request must be certified. Because an FCC Form 470 can be posted to the USAC website without being certified, applicants sometimes forget to complete this important step. Although you will be reminded during PIA review if an FCC Form 470 needs to be certified, we suggest that you take the time now to certify any forms that you have cited.

To verify the status of an FCC Form 470, click the Search Posted button in the Form 470 column on the Apply Online page. Choose the appropriate funding year and, on the following screen, provide the application number or other details that will allow you to locate your form. If the status on the third line of the form display is “COMPLETE,” return to the Apply Online page, click the “Certify Complete” button in the Form 470 column, and follow the instruction to certify your form either online – if you have a PIN – or on paper.

Review your RAL and submit any allowable corrections.

USAC issues a Receipt Acknowledgment Letter (RAL) to each applicant that timely certifies an FCC Form 471. This letter contains instructions for identifying and submitting allowable corrections to the form. We suggest that you review your RAL(s) carefully and, if you notice any errors, submit corrections to USAC as soon as possible.

Organize and store your documents.

As part of your application filing process, you may have produced or accessed a number of documents, for example:

  • Technology plans
  • Requests for Proposals (RFPs)
  • Winning and losing bids
  • Bid evaluation matrices and other evaluation documents
  • Contracts
  • National School Lunch Program (NSLP) data reports
  • Alternative discount mechanism documentation (e.g., income surveys)
  • Draft or final budgets

You may be asked to provide or refer to some or all of your documentation during Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) reviews, appeal reviews, audits, or other program activities. We suggest you take the time now to organize and file all documents related to your application in a manner that will allow you to easily locate and retrieve them for any future needs.

If you would like guidance on how to organize your documentation, review the E-rate Binder Table of Contents in the Reference Area of the website under the heading Samples and Examples.

Check the status of your technology plan.

Applicants requesting discounts for Internal Connections and/or Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections must have an approved technology plan before services start or the FCC Form 486 is filed, whichever is earlier. We suggest you do the following:

  • If you are already covered by an approved technology plan, check the expiration date of the plan. For FY2013 services to be covered, your approved technology plan must cover services through at least June 30, 2014.
  • If you wrote a new technology plan before you filed your FCC Form 470 for FY2013, make sure you understand the technology plan approval process for your state and/or your entity type. You should be actively working to get your technology plan through the appropriate approval process and approved no later than July 1, 2013 in order for it to cover FY2013 services.

You should also organize and file your documents that relate to technology planning. At a minimum, these include:

  • A dated copy of the technology plan that was written before your FCC Form 470 was filed. (Currently approved plans that cover at least part of the upcoming funding year and support the services requested on the FCC Form 471 meet this requirement.) Note that if a funding request for FY2013 is based on a multi-year contract that has already been in effect for several years, you may still need to refer to the technology plan that served as the basis for the establishing FCC Form 470 for that multi-year contract AS WELL AS the technology plan that covers the upcoming funding year.
  • A copy of the final approved technology plan.
  • A copy of the approval letter or other proof of approval from the USAC-certified Technology Plan Approver that approved your technology plan. The letter should clearly state the period for which the plan is approved, for example: “This technology plan is approved for the three-year period starting July 1, 2013 and ending June 30, 2016.”

Prepare for PIA review.

If you have all of your documentation in order, you should be in good shape for PIA review. Remember to respond promptly to any PIA requests for information or documentation. You can ask for additional time to respond if you need it. We will cover PIA review in more detail in future editions of the SL News Brief.

Monitor your preferred mode of contact.

Many applications cannot be reviewed without reaching out to the applicant for additional information. If information is needed, USAC will attempt to contact applicants using their preferred mode of contact for both problem resolution of forms submitted on paper and for PIA review. Be sure to monitor the preferred mode of contact you indicated on your form so that you can receive and promptly respond to any questions from USAC.

 

SLD News 3/8/13 – Focus: Form 471 Filing

 March 8, 2013 

FY2013 WINDOW COUNTDOWN

Days to window close 6
FCC Forms 471 filed to date 21,386
Online Item 21 attachments filed to date 47,118

TIP OF THE WEEK: Remember that the Client Service Bureau (CSB) is open extended hours this weekend and on the last day of the filing window (see below). On weekdays, the best times to call are early morning, late afternoon, and evening.

Commitments for Funding Years 2012 and 2011

Funding Year 2012. USAC will release Funding Year (FY) 2012 Wave 34 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) March 12. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 2 (Internal Connections and Basic Maintenance) requests at 90 percent and denials at 89 percent and below. As of March 8, FY2012 commitments total over $1.94 billion.

Funding Year 2011. USAC will release FY2011 Wave 84 FCDLs March 13. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 2 requests at 88 percent and above and denials at 87 percent and below. As of March 8, FY2011 commitments total over $2.55 billion.

On the day the FCDLs are mailed, you can check to see if you have a commitment by using USAC’s Automated Search of Commitments tool.

Service Provider Training Reminder

The two spring 2013 service provider trainings will be held on the following dates and locations:

  • Tuesday, May 7 at the Renaissance Concourse Atlanta Airport Hotel, Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Thursday, May 9 at the Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel, Los Angeles, California.

To register for the training and to find information on hotel reservations, refer to the Training Sessions and Presentations page on the USAC website.

Los Angeles still has a few spaces available; Atlanta has gone to a waiting list. Once a waiting list is created, we will only process new registrations as we receive cancellations. Please email USAC if you have registered but you will be unable to attend so that we can open a space for someone else.

CSB Extended Hours

To assist applicants with last-minute issues, the Client Service Bureau (CSB) will be open during the following hours for the last week of the FY2013 application filing window:

Date Hours
Saturday, March 9 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM EST
Sunday, March 10 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM EDT
Monday, March 11 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM EDT
Tuesday, March 12 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM EDT
Wednesday, March 13 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM EDT
Thursday, March 14 8:00 AM – 11:59 PM EDT

 

Filing Reminders for Item 21 Attachments

The Item 21 attachment – a description of service required for each Block 5 funding request on the FCC Form 471 – is a window filing requirement. This means it must be received (if filed online, by email or fax, or hand-delivered) or postmarked (if filed on paper and sent by delivery service or U.S. Mail) by 11:59 PM EDT on March 14, 2013.

If you intend to file online:

In order to file an Item 21 attachment online, you must have filed your Form 471 online. To file your Item 21 attachment online, go to the Apply Online page and click on the Item 21 Attachment button in the Form 471 column. You will need the following information to access your FRN(s) and complete your Item 21 attachment(s):

  • Billed Entity Number
  • FCC Form 471 application number
  • Security code
  • Any documentation – such as bid responses, contracts, or service descriptions – that contains information on the services you are seeking.

The online system will walk you through the process of filing. You can even bring funding request information from your FRNs into the online Item 21 attachment so that you can verify your calculations. The system will warn you if the total dollar figure on your attachment doesn’t match the total dollar figure on the associated FRN and allow you to make adjustments.

Remember to provide the following:

  • For telecommunication services, the number of lines and extensions.
  • For digital transmission services, the bandwidth.
  • For Internet access, the bandwidth or the type of circuit.
  • For equipment, the make, model, and SKU (stock-keeping unit).
  • For basic maintenance, the equipment being maintained.

Your online Item 21 attachment has not been submitted until you click the Submit button on the last screen. If you need to make changes to your online attachment after you have submitted it, you must submit a revised attachment using another filing option – you cannot revise an attachment online after you click the Submit button.

If you intend to file on paper:

Although we often refer to other filing methods as “filing on paper,” you have three options other than online filing. You should refer to the Item 21 Attachments guidance document on the USAC website for the specific information you need to provide in your attachment. You should include the following information on each page of your submission:

  • FCC Form 471 application number
  • Funding Request Number
  • Item 21 attachment number (the number you entered in Item 21 of the FCC Form 471)
  • Name of the person that can answer questions about your submission along with contact information (email, fax number, and/or telephone number)
  • Billed Entity Number

If your submission contains attachments for multiple FRNs, clearly identify the FRN associated with each attachment.

  • To file by email, attach your completed attachment to an email message and email it to USAC.
  • To file by fax, fax your completed attachment to (973) 599-6511.
  • To file by mail, mail your completed attachment to SLD Forms, Form 471 – Item 21 Attachment, P.O. Box 7026, Lawrence, KS 66044-7026.
  • To file using a delivery service, send your completed attachment to SLD Forms, ATTN: Form 471 – Item 21 Attachment, 3833 Greenway Drive, Lawrence, KS 66046, Telephone: 1-888-203-8100.

Again, for detailed information and examples, refer to the Item 21 Attachments guidance document on the USAC website.

 

SLD News – 3/1/13 Focus: Tips for 2013 Applicants

FY2013 WINDOW COUNTDOWN

Days to window close 13
FCC Forms 471 filed to date 14,322
Online Item 21 attachments filed to date 32,199

TIP OF THE WEEK: If you are applying for both Priority 1 and Priority 2 services, remember to file them on separate FCC Forms 471. Featuring funding requests for services in both priorities on the same form can delay funding decisions for the Priority 1 services.

Commitments for Funding Years 2012 and 2011

Funding Year 2012. USAC will release Funding Year (FY) 2012 Wave 33 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) March 5. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 2 (Internal Connections and Basic Maintenance) requests at 90 percent and denials at 89 percent and below. As of March 1, FY2012 commitments total over $1.91 billion.

Funding Year 2011. USAC will release FY2011 Wave 83 FCDLs March 6. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 2 requests at 88 percent and above and denials at 87 percent and below. As of March 1, FY2011 commitments total over $2.54 billion.

On the day the FCDLs are mailed, you can check to see if you have a commitment by using USAC’s Automated Search of Commitments tool.

Top Ten Tips for FY2013 Applicants

1. Get an FCC Registration Number (FCC RN) if you don’t yet have one. FCC RNs are required for Block 1 entities (Billed Entities). They are not required for Block 4 entities (recipients of service). If you do not have an FCC RN, you can obtain one from the Commission Registration System (CORES) section of the FCC website.

2. Review your entity name, number, address, and category in the Search for BEN Information tool and change any incorrect information. The Client Service Bureau (CSB) can process changes to entity number information. You can contact CSB by phone at 1-888-203-8100. However, if you have more than two entities to update, please gather the information requested in the Entity Numbers guidance document and either Submit a Question to provide the information (choose “Entity Number” from the Topic Inquiry menu and “Other” on the subsequent screen) or fax the information to 1-888-276-8736.

3. Request entity numbers for any new entities. You will need an entity number for the Billed Entity in Block 1 and for each recipient of service in Block 4. Contact CSB as above with requests for new entity numbers.

4. Locate your NCES or FSCS codes. NCES codes identify individual schools by state, school district, and school; FSCS codes identify libraries by state, library system, and outlet/branch. You can search for your code starting with the Data Tools page of the NCES website, or you can contact your state department of education or state library agency for assistance.

If you cannot find your code when you are ready to complete your FCC Form 471, you will be allowed to bypass that entry. However, school entities without NCES codes will not show up in an entity search for “all the schools in a school district” and must be entered manually. You may also be asked for this information during the review of your application if it is missing.

5. Locate the Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN) for each of your service providers. Service providers file an FCC Form 498 to obtain a SPIN and provide or update their contact and banking information. You enter the SPIN for the service provider in Item 13 of each Block 5 funding request. If your service provider has multiple SPINs, check to make sure you are using the correct one.

You can search for SPINs using the Search for SPIN Information tool on the USAC website.

  • If you are not sure of the exact legal name of your service provider, entering the first few letters of the name followed by a percent sign (%) on the search page will return more results.
  • The tool now has a “Doing Business As” column to help you identify the correct service provider if there has been a merger or acquisition.
  • You can use the contact information in the tool to contact the service provider if there are multiple results and you are not sure which SPIN to use.

During the last week of the window, USAC will engage an “interim SPIN” (143666666) to allow applicants to complete a funding request for any service provider that has not yet received a SPIN. Applicants can then provide the correct SPIN during application review.

6. Check the FCC Form 470 application number you intend to cite on each funding request. The FCC Form 470 you cite must be the “establishing FCC Form 470,” i.e., the form that formed the basis for the competitive bidding process that led to the selection of the service provider and services on the funding request.

If you have not yet certified your FCC Form 470, we suggest that you do so now. (See below for online and paper certification guidance.)

7. Review the information requested in Block 2 about high-speed Internet access services. If you are not sure of the connection speed(s) you will have, you can ask your service provider or provide your best estimate. You must provide an entry in each field of Block 2, so enter “0” (zero) if no buildings are served at a particular speed.

8a. FOR LIBRARIES – have the required student counts ready for your Block 4 worksheet(s). The discount for a library is calculated by dividing the total number of students eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) in the public school district in which the library is located by the total number of students in that school district. Many states post this information on a website, or you can ask your public school district.

8b. FOR SCHOOLS – have your demographic information ready for your Block 4 worksheet(s). For each Block 4 recipient of service, you must indicate if one or more of the following apply:

9. Certify your forms. From the Apply Online page, you can certify your FCC Form 470 and/or your FCC Form 471 if you have not already done so. To certify a form you filed online, click the Certify Complete button in the appropriate column and:

  • Click on Electronic Certification if you have a Personal Identification Number (PIN). The certification page will appear. Enter your PIN, check the box to affirm your compliance, and click on the Done button. You should print out a copy of the page that follows.
  • Click on Paper Certification if you do not have or cannot locate your PIN. Print a copy of the certification page that appears, sign and date it, and send it to USAC by delivery service or US Mail. You should keep a copy of your submission and proof of postmark or delivery.

10. Submit your Item 21 attachment. The Item 21 attachment is a window filing requirement. For assistance in preparing and submitting your Item 21 attachment, refer to the Item 21 Attachments guidance document on the USAC website and the February 22 SL News Brief.

NOTE: If you intend to file your Item 21 attachment online, you must click “Submit” on the last page after you have entered all of your information. Clicking “Save & Exit” saves – but does not submit – your Item 21 attachment.

Contact the Client Service Bureau (CSB) if you have questions.

You can call CSB at (888) 203-8100, Submit a Question online, or fax your question to (888) 276-8736. Note that CSB will be open extended hours on the following days:

  • Saturday, March 9 from 9:00 AM through 6:00 PM EST
  • Sunday, March 10 from 9:00 AM through 6:00 PM EDT
  • Thursday, March 14 from 8:00 AM through 11:59 PM EDT.

FRN Balance Verifications

Each year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) conducts an audit of USAC. As part of this audit, the firm performing the audit emails a number of balance verifications (“confirmations”) to applicants and service providers. The purpose of these confirmations is to verify that the balances reported by USAC on specific Funding Request Numbers (FRNs) match the balances in the records of the applicants and service providers.

Each confirmation features the balance reported by USAC on a specific FRN as of December 31, 2012. Applicants and service providers should review their records and respond by either

  • agreeing with the balance featured on the confirmation or
  • if it is different, noting the balance as of December 31, 2012 on their records.

The confirmations are being sent from the domain dpgeorge.com. We ask that you check your email filters for messages from this domain name, and respond promptly to any confirmations you receive.

 

SLD News 2/22/13 Focus:Item 21 attachments

FY2013 WINDOW COUNTDOWN

Days to window close 20
FCC Forms 471 filed to date 10,144
Online Item 21 attachments filed to date 22,657

 

TIP OF THE WEEK: Remember that the Item 21 attachment is a window filing requirement. You can file your Item 21 attachments online if you filed your FCC Form 471 online and have your Billed Entity Number, Form 471 application number, and security code.

Commitments for Funding Years 2012 and 2011

Funding Year 2012. USAC will release Funding Year (FY) 2012 Wave 32 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) February 26. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 2 (Internal Connections and Basic Maintenance) requests at 90 percent and denials at 89 percent and below. As of February 22, FY2012 commitments total over $1.90 billion.

Funding Year 2011. USAC will release FY2011 Wave 82 FCDLs February 27. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 2 requests at 88 percent and above and denials at 87 percent and below. As of February 22, FY2011 commitments total over $2.53 billion.

On the day the FCDLs are mailed, you can check to see if you have a commitment by using USAC’s Automated Search of Commitments tool.

FY2012 FCC Form 486 Deadline Reminder

On February 7, USAC issued the first Form 486 Urgent Reminder Letters for FY2012 Funding Request Numbers (FRNs). These letters are sent to remind affected applicants that their FCC Forms 486 appear to be late, and that they have 20 days from the date of the letter to file and certify their forms.

If the date of your FCDL is before October 1, 2012, and your service start date is also before October 1, 2012, you must file an FCC Form 486 on or before February 27, 2013. For FCDLs issued on or after October 1, you should file your FCC Form 486 promptly – in any case, no later than the deadline featured in your Form 486 Urgent Reminder Letter.

Remember that, if your FCC Form 486 is late, USAC will reset your service start date to the date 120 days before the certification date for your form, which may result in a reduction in your funding commitment. For more information, refer to the February 1, 2013 SL News Brief, the FCC Form 486 Filing information, and the Deadlines tool on the USAC website.

Schools and Libraries IT Modernization Project

The Schools and Libraries Program is in the process of updating its current internal systems. The goal is to modernize Schools and Libraries information technology (IT) systems to improve operational efficiencies and to enhance the customer experience.

USAC is seeking comments from E-rate stakeholders and IT providers on this project. These comments will be used to shape the current vision. The complete Request for Comment is available for review.

Interested parties may file comments or reply comments on or before the dates indicated in the request for comment. All information submitted including names and addresses will be publicly available via the Comments page on the USAC website within two business days of submittal. USAC will post all comments verbatim, including any personal information provided.

Visit the Comments page to view any comments or reply comments submitted.

Preparing and Submitting Item 21 Attachments

The Item 21 attachment is an important part of each FCC Form 471 Block 5 funding request. It contains a detailed description of the products and services you are requesting. When you file an FCC Form 471, the online system assigns a Funding Request Number (FRN) to each funding request. You provide an attachment number in Item 21 of each Block 5 funding request that will correspond with your Item 21 attachment, and then you submit that Item 21 attachment separately from the application.

You may choose to number your attachments #1, #2, etc. or use a descriptive name for each. Regardless of the method you choose, be sure to identify each Item 21 attachment with the number or name you indicated in its associated Block 5 funding request.

NOTE: You must provide an Item 21 attachment for EACH FRN on your FCC Form 471.

Following are some specific tips for Item 21 attachments for each of the four categories of service – Telecommunications Services, Internet Access, Internal Connections, and Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections. If you include the information suggested in the tips, your PIA reviewer will be able to more easily make determinations of the eligibility of the components of each of your funding requests.

– Telecommunications Services

Provide the specific type(s) of service requested. For example, instead of “Telecommunications” or “Telephone service,” state “Local and long distance service.” If the specific type of service is not identified, PIA is required to ask for this information.

Provide the number of lines, including the number of extensions. Many entities have a single billed telephone number with several lines or extensions associated with the main billing line. Be sure to include those lines and extensions in your line count. For example, if your school or library has a main line and 12 extensions, enter “13” for the number of lines.

For digital transmission services, provide the bandwidth. While some services have a set bandwidth – e.g. a T-1 circuit is 1.544 Mbps – the bandwidth of other services such as wireless or fiber service is variable. If you are not sure of the speed of your service, check your bill, review your contract (if applicable), or ask your service provider. This information is very important for data collection purposes; as above, PIA must ask you for this information if it is not listed in your Item 21 attachment.

If you include a copy of your bill as all or part of your Item 21 attachment:

  • Pick a bill that represents your typical monthly costs. One month is generally sufficient. Don’t send bills for all 12 months of service for the previous year.
  • Make sure the dollar amount of the bill is typical of your monthly costs and supports your request. A monthly bill for $100 will not, alone, support an FRN requesting $150 per month. Also, a bill for a month when school is not in session may not accurately reflect your typical monthly costs. If you expect your expenses for an FRN for the new funding year to be greater than that reflected on the bill you include from the current year, you need to explain and justify why the amount you are budgeting is a reasonable estimate for the new funding year.
  • Include the page or pages from your bill that detail any miscellaneous charges and/or credits. Your reviewer must be able to identify those costs to determine their eligibility.
  • Identify any ineligible charges. You can submit a bill with ineligible charges – just make sure you clearly identify them. If they are not identified, the PIA reviewer will have to ask you additional questions.

– Internet Access

For digital transmission circuits for basic conduit access to the Internet, provide the bandwidth of the services you are requesting. As above, if you are requesting more than one circuit, include the number of circuits.

If you are requesting web hosting services, ask your service provider for a cost allocation and provide it as part of your attachment.

  • Clearly identify the total cost of the service as well as the percentage of the total cost for which you are seeking funding. For example, if a web hosting company’s service is 75% eligible and the service costs $100 per month, state that you are seeking discounts on $75 of the $100 per month and not requesting discounts on the ineligible 25%. By identifying the eligible and ineligible portions beforehand, you will reduce questions from PIA and ensure that you have budgeted for the cost of your share of the service.

– Internal Connections

For all Internal Connections requests, provide the make and model number and the quantity of any equipment included in your funding request. PIA will ask for this information if it is not already included.

For bundled products, in addition to the make and model numbers, provide the SKU. The SKU, or stock-keeping unit, is a unique identifying number assigned by a company to each of its products and/or services. Bundled products often contain ineligible components or features, and USAC works with many service providers to ensure that cost allocations appropriately reflect eligible and ineligible components of bundled service. If you provide the SKU, USAC can more easily identify and apply the correct cost allocation.

If equipment can be used in both eligible and ineligible ways, clearly describe how you are using the equipment. For example, a server can be eligible if used for email but not eligible if used for caching. If you are requesting a web server or terminal server, be sure to state the specific functions it will be performing and provide a cost allocation if some of the functions are ineligible.

If you are requesting discounts on equipment such as cabinets, racks, and UPSs, identify the equipment they are supporting. These types of equipment are eligible only in proportion to the eligibility of the equipment they serve or house. Although you may be ordering these types of equipment along with fully eligible internal connections equipment, PIA cannot assume that only those eligible items will be housed on the accompanying cabinet or rack or supported by the UPS.

  • If only eligible equipment will be supported or housed, you should state that and provide the make and model numbers of the eligible equipment.
  • If both eligible and ineligible equipment will be supported or housed, you should provide that information together with an appropriate cost allocation.

– Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections

Provide a list of all of the equipment being supported by the basic maintenance. This list should include the make, model number, quantity, and location of the equipment being supported.

State the basic maintenance tasks that will be performed and the costs associated with those tasks. As a reminder, services such as software upgrades and patches – including bug fixes and security patches – and online and telephone-based technical assistance and tools may be invoiced as a one-time charge. Other basic maintenance tasks, such as those performed on a time and material basis, can be funded; however, USAC will only process invoices for actual work performed or for hours of labor actually used.

If your basic maintenance contract includes both eligible and ineligible equipment, be sure you indicate what portion of the price reflects the price for maintenance of the ineligible equipment. Examples of ineligible equipment include desktop computers and telephones.

Service provider assistance

It is entirely appropriate to involve your service provider in the process of creating your Item 21 attachment. Your service provider may have specific details that USAC needs or be able to easily provide network diagrams, SKUs, or other information not readily available to you.

After you submit your Item 21 attachment to USAC, share a copy with your service provider. If you file online, you can remind your service provider that he or she can access your submission through the E-File System. With this information, your service provider can better understand exactly what you are requesting, and this information will be invaluable during the application review and invoicing processes.

For more information

For detailed information and examples – including information on submission options – refer to the Item 21 Attachments guidance document on the USAC website.

 

SLD News for 2/15/13 – Focus: Discounts

FY2013 WINDOW COUNTDOWN

Days to window close 27
FCC Forms 470 posted on/before February 14 34,422
FCC Forms 471 filed to date 8,137
Online Item 21 attachments filed to date 17,265
 
TIP OF THE WEEK: If you are filing your Item 21 attachments by email, fax, or on paper, be sure to clearly identify their associated FRNs and Form 471 application numbers. These numbers should appear (1) in the body of your email, (2) on your fax cover sheet, or (3) on the first page of your paper submission that is mailed or sent by delivery service.

Commitments for Funding Years 2012, 2011, and 2010

Funding Year 2012. USAC will release FY2012 Wave 31 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) February 20. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 2 (Internal Connections and Basic Maintenance) requests at 90% and denials at 89% and below. As of February 15, FY2012 commitments total over $1.87 billion.

Funding Year 2011. USAC will release FY2011 Wave 81 FCDLs February 21. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 2 requests at 88% and above and denials at 87% and below. As of February 15, FY2011 commitments total just under $2.53 billion.

Funding Year 2010. USAC will release FY2010 Wave 109 FCDLs February 19. This wave can include commitments for approved Priority 2 requests at all discount levels. As of February 15, FY2010 commitments total over $3.08 billion.

On the day the FCDLs are mailed, you can check to see if you have a commitment by using USAC’s Automated Search of Commitments tool.

Calculating Discounts

In Block 4 of the FCC Form 471, Description of Services Ordered and Certification Form, applicants prepare one or more worksheets that list the recipients of service for each funding request featured on the form. Below we discuss how to calculate discounts for the recipients of service listed in these worksheets.  

General Information

E-rate discounts are calculated and reported to USAC on Block 4 of the FCC Form 471. If you file online and follow the instructions, the calculations detailed below are performed for you based on the data you provide when you complete the form.

  • For a single entity receiving service – e.g., an individual school or a single library outlet/branch – you calculate a “site-specific” discount.
  • For a number of entities receiving a service – e.g., all the individual schools in a school district or all the library outlets/branches in a library system – you calculate a “shared” discount.

To calculate the discount for an individual entity (recipient of service), you need two pieces of information:

  • The urban or rural status of the entity, which you can determine using the physical location of the entity and the information in the guidance document Urban/Rural Status.
  • The percentage of students eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or an equivalent measure of poverty (see below).

You can then find your discount in the Discount Matrix posted on the USAC website. Locate the row that includes the percentage of students eligible for NSLP and find your discount in the urban or rural column, as appropriate.

Following is information on how to calculate discounts for different types of entities.

Individual school

Enter the information (name, entity number, etc.) for the individual school in Block 4. Divide the number of students eligible for NSLP at the individual school by the total number of students at the school. Use this number (the percentage of students eligible for NSLP) and the urban or rural status of the school to look up the discount on the Discount Matrix.

Library outlet/branch

Enter the information (name, entity number, etc.) for the individual library outlet/branch in Block 4. Divide the number of students eligible for NSLP in the public school district in which the library outlet/branch is located by the total number of students in that public school district. Use this number and the urban or rural status of the library outlet/branch to look up the discount on the Discount Matrix. Note that while a library outlet/branch may serve more than one school district, it uses the student information from the public school district in which it is physically located for its discount calculation.

School district

Prepare a worksheet in Block 4 of the FCC Form 471 that lists each individual school in the school district, then calculate the discount for each individual school as described above under “Individual school.” Multiply the discount for each individual school by the number of students in that school (the “weighted product” for that school). Add all the weighted products and divide the result by the total number of students in the school district to get the “weighted average discount” for the school district.

Library system or library consortium

Prepare a worksheet in Block 4 of the FCC Form 471 that lists each library outlet/branch in the library system, then calculate the discount for each outlet/branch as described above under “Library outlet/branch.” Add all the discounts and divide the result by the total number of outlets/branches in the library system to get the “simple average discount” for the library system.

Consortium of schools and/or libraries

Prepare a worksheet in Block 4 of the FCC Form 471 that lists each consortium member, then calculate the discount for each member as described above for that member type. (For a school district or library system member, you will first complete a separate worksheet to calculate that member’s discount.) Add all the member discounts and divide the result by the total number of members in the consortium to get the simple average discount for the consortium.

School or library non-instructional facility (NIF) without classrooms

A non-instructional facility or NIF is a school building without classrooms or a library building without public areas. (Some school NIFs do contain classrooms – see below.)

  • The discount for a school NIF without classrooms is the weighted average discount of its school district.
  • The discount for a library NIF is the simple average discount of its library system.

School NIF with classrooms

If the NIF contains one or more classrooms and the student population in the classroom(s) is fixed (the same students are expected to attend class every day), use the calculation for an individual school as described above.

If the student population varies from day to day or over time, use a “snapshot” of the student population for your calculation. Choose a particular day, calculate the percentage NSLP eligibility for the student population in the classroom(s) on that day, and carry that percentage eligibility into the Discount Matrix. Be sure to maintain accurate and complete documentation of your calculation.

New school construction

You must first determine whether you know the population of students that will attend the school.

  • If you know which students will attend the new school, calculate the discount for that individual school as described above.
  • If you don’t know which students will attend the new school, use the school district weighted average.
  • If you don’t know which students will attend the new school and that school is not part of a school district, the new school will be eligible for a 20% discount in its first year – that is, until the student population is known. Once you know which students will attend the new school, you can update your information.

New library construction

For a new library, calculate the discount as described above under “Library outlet/branch” using the student information from the public school district in which the new building will be located.

Head Start, pre-kindergarten, juvenile justice, or adult education

You must first determine if the students and/or facilities in these programs are eligible in your state using the Eligibility Table for Non-traditional K-12 Students and Facilities. If they are eligible, calculate the discount for an individual school (or a NIF with classrooms as appropriate) as described above. Note that all Head Start students that meet the age requirement are considered eligible for NSLP.

Schools with changing student populations

Some schools offer instruction to students drawn from other schools, and the student population in those schools may vary throughout a school year. Examples of these types of schools include some magnet schools, vocational schools, outdoor education facilities, and career centers.

To calculate their discounts, these schools can use the “snapshot” method described above under “School NIFs with classrooms.” Remember to maintain accurate and complete documentation of your calculation.

Alternative discount mechanisms

For schools that either do not participate in NSLP or choose not to use NSLP participation numbers, there are certain acceptable alternative discount mechanisms that can be used to calculate an equivalent measure for the percentage of students eligible for NSLP. In all cases, these mechanisms must be based on or not exceed the same measure of poverty used by NSLP.

As above, applicants using an alternative discount mechanism must maintain accurate and complete documentation of the calculations that support their funding requests. In general, data from alternative discount mechanisms must be collected and verifiable on an individual student basis. Remember that documentation must be retained for five years after the last date to receive service.

Provisions 1, 2, and 3. Schools participating in one of these three provisions under NSLP can use the percentage of students eligible for free and reduced lunches under that provision to determine their discount. USAC may ask for additional information – including the base year documentation – to support the calculated discount rate.

Direct certification. Direct certification students are considered eligible for NSLP for the purposes of calculating E-rate discounts.

Community Eligibility Option (CEO). Schools that participate in CEO use the NSLP eligibility data for the most recent funding year in which they did not participate in CEO. 

Projections based on surveys

You can design a survey to collect eligibility information. You can either (1) use the information gleaned from the survey to determine student eligibility on an individual basis or (2) project a percentage of eligibility if your survey meets certain requirements.

If you send a survey to all households in your school and at least half of the surveys are completed and returned, you can project a percentage of eligibility based on the returned surveys. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Carefully follow the website guidance in the Alternative Discount Mechanisms when you design your survey.
  • NSLP forms CANNOT be used as surveys.
  • Send one survey per household, not one per student.
  • Number your surveys consecutively so that returned surveys are easier to track.
  • If you do a projection, base it ONLY on returned surveys. You can combine multiple sources of data if you are verifying your data student by student, but NOT if you are using a projection.

For more detailed information, you can refer to Calculating Discounts and Alternative Discount Mechanisms information on the USAC website. The FCC Form 471 Instructions also contain much useful information.

 
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