Telecommunications carriers that participate in the federal E-Rate program should be aware of several upcoming deadlines and take note of two procedural changes for Funding Year 2022. Companies also should review the FCC’s proposed program rules and provide comments to the Commission about how these potential changes could affect your operations.

FCC Seeks Comment on Proposed E-Rate Changes
The FCC is proposing new E-Rate rules to decrease the risk of fraud, waste, and abuse, and to streamline program requirements. The proposed changes include:

  • Creating a bidding portal and centralized document repository maintained by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) for use by service providers and applicants.
  • Allowing service providers to anonymously submit questions in the bidding portal to applicants during the bidding process and making the answers available to all interested bidders.
  • Requiring applicants to submit bidding selection documentation, such as bid comparison matrices and related contract documents, at the time they request funding.

The FCC wants to hear from you on the possible benefits and burdens of these potential rule changes. Comments are due on or before March 28, 2022, and reply comments are due on or before April 27, 2022. If you would like to learn more or would like JSI to assist with filing comments, please contact JSI’s E-Rate team at services@jsitel.com or 512-338‑0473.

E-Rate Funding Year 2022 Reminders
The Funding Year 2022 filing window for FCC Form 471 is open until Tuesday, March 22, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern.

When submitting your bids, please keep in mind that the FCC updated both the Category One (Data Transmission and/or Internet Access) and Category Two (Eligible Broadband Internal Connections) eligible services list. The latest eligible services list can be found here. Two notable changes for this year include:

  • E-Rate support is available for both equipment and necessary software (e.g., right-to-use software or client access licenses) under Category Two if both equipment and necessary software are included on FCC Form 471, even if the software was omitted from the request filed on FCC Form 470. Historically, equipment and software had to be listed on both forms to receive E-Rate funding.
  • National Security Supply Chain Restrictions: The FCC provided the website that houses the prohibited communications equipment and services list, known as the Covered List. Remember, E-Rate support is not available for equipment and services deemed to pose a threat to national security that are identified on the Covered List.

Looking Ahead to E-Rate Funding Year 2023
The filing window for Form 470 will open mid-summer 2022 for schools, libraries, and consortia to post their service requests.

JSI’s E-Rate Connect Bundle is designed to help your company spot business opportunities in your area from local schools, libraries, and consortia. We monitor the USAC 470 database throughout the funding year’s window for new opportunities based on your zip codes. Subscribers also receive “breaking news” alerts, deadline reminders and more. If you have questions about E-Rate or JSI’s E-Rate Connect, please contact JSI’s E-Rate team at services@jsitel.com or 512-338-0473.