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The Schools and Libraries Program News Archive gives you access to all announcements related to the Schools and Libraries Program as they were made throughout the years. The archives will be updated as new announcements are made.
The special Hurricane Katrina window for schools, libraries, and consortia is currently open and will close at 11:59 pm ET on December 13, 2005.
Applicants affected by Hurricane Katrina are eligible to participate in a special application window that will provide additional funds to certain schools and libraries through the end of Funding Year 2005. Schools and libraries directly affected by Hurricane Katrina are: (1) eligible for a 90% discount on Internal Connections requests for Funding Years 2005 and 2006; (2) may request additional funding for 2005 to bring them back to pre-Katrina levels of functionality; (3) may request broad service substitutions; and (4) may qualify for a waiver of the 2-in-5 Rule for Internal Connections. Schools and libraries “directly affected” by Hurricane Katrina are defined as both located in counties and parishes eligible for FEMA individual disaster assistance and having incurred substantial damage as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Schools and libraries serving evacuees that received at least a 10% increase in their population, also known as “indirectly affected” entities, are also eligible for certain relief that must be requested during this window. For more information, visit USAC’s Hurricane Katrina Universal Service Fund Relief Information site at http://katrina-usf.org/katrina/default.asp and click under Schools and Libraries.
The December 1, 2005, edition of the Schools & Libraries News Brief provides you with valuable information on applying for discounts on eligible services for Funding Year 2006 (July 1, 2006 – June 30, 2007) from the Universal Service Schools and Libraries Program. It has been compiled to offer you highlights of the most up-to-date information to assist you in submitting a successful application. The letter contains important dates for Funding Year 2006. Follow this link to the Letter to the Field.
The Form 471 application filing window for Funding Year 2006 will open at noon EST on Tuesday, December 6, 2005 and will close at 11:59 pm EST on Thursday, February 16, 2006. The filing window will be open for 73 days.
On November 22, 2005, the FCC issued Public Notice FCC 05-197 which released the FY2006 Eligible Services List. This notice waived the requirement that the Eligible Services List be published at least 60 days before the commencement of the filing window, which allows USAC to open the window on December 6, 2005.
For more information on filing Form 470 and the competitive bidding process, please refer to the Form 470 Reminders in the Reference Area of this website.
The FCC released Order FCC 05-178 September 14, 2005 regarding the implementation of Chairman Martin’s September 15th announcement to use $211 million in federal Universal Service Funds for areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. USAC is reviewing the Order. Please monitor this website for the latest information on USAC's administration of the Order.
On October 13, 2005, USAC e-mailed its first issue of the Schools and Libraries News Brief to provide timely information about upcoming funding commitments and tips to help participants through the application process. USAC plans to e-mail the electronic newsletter on a weekly basis to applicants, service providers, and other stakeholders. To subscribe to this news brief, please click here.
Due to the overwhelming demand for training, USAC will add a fourth “ABCs of the Schools and Libraries Program” training session in Chicago, during either the first or last week of October. The exact location and date will be announced next week. Please continue to refer to this web site for additional information as it becomes available.
The waiting lists for Washington, Newark, and Los Angeles have closed; registrants should have received a confirmation of registration at either their first or second choice of location. If you have any questions about your registration, you may email your question or call 410-757-0905
On August 15, 2005, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Public Notice (FCC 05-158) establishing the comment period for the Funding Year 2006 Eligible Services List.
Comments on the draft Eligible Services List, which is attached to the Public Notice, are due to the FCC on or before August 25, 2005. Reply comments are due to the FCC on or before September 1, 2005. For information on filing comments with the FCC, please refer to the Public Notice.
USAC has prepared a Summary of Proposed Changes document to assist the comment process.
This proceeding is limited to determining what services are eligible under the FCC’s current rules; it is not intended to be a vehicle for changing any eligibility rules.
The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in Docket No. 02-6, FCC 05-124 [PDF] has now been published in the Federal Register. This NPRM initiates a broad inquiry into the management and administration of the Universal Service Fund (USF), as well as the FCC’s oversight of the USF and the USF Administrator.
The NPRM can be found on pages 41658–41678 of the Federal Register, Vol. 70, No. 138 for Wednesday, July 20, 2005.
Comments on the NPRM are due on or before October 18, 2005. Reply comments are due on or before December 19, 2005. For information on filing comments, please refer to the ADDRESSES section on page 41659 in the notice.
On Monday, June 27, the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) will release wave one of funding commitment letters to 2005 school and library applicants. USAC will send over 7,700 letters committing more than $265.2 million in universal service funding. The letters notify applicants of funding commitments for Priority One services (telecommunications services and Internet access) for all discount bands from 20% - 90%.
Applicants who receive Funding Commitment Decision Letters should read them carefully. The letters contain information on next steps, including the deadline for filing the Form 486, certification(s) for the purposes of the Children's Internet Protection Act, deadlines for filing invoices, and the procedure for filing appeals. Please note especially that, if a technology plan is required, applicants must have their technology plans approved by a certified technology plan approver before services start. For more information or to find a certified approver, please go to the Certified Technology Plan Approver Locator available in the Reference Area of this web site.
On June 1, 2005, the SLD issued Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) for Funding Year 2003 Wave 40. This will be the last regular wave for FY2003 commitments.
The SLD announced on March 2, 2004 that approved Internal Connections requests for FY2003 can be funded down to the 70% level. The SLD will deny any remaining Internal Connections funding requests with discount percentages of 69% and below. Also, applications filed after the close of the FY2003 Form 471 application filing window will not be considered for funding.
For applicants who have not yet received an FCDL in the 40 regular FY2003 waves, the SLD has issued or will issue a letter or other communication with additional information about the status of commitments on their FY2003 applications. The SLD is still reviewing the properly completed in-window Forms 471 for which commitments have not yet been made, and will issue occasional waves (designated 40A, 40B, and so on) as decisions are reached on those applications.
In order to provide more information to applicants and service providers on the status of the review process for specific Forms 471, the SLD has expanded the list of statuses available on the Form 471 Application Status Tool and added a new feature. The basic functionality of the tool will remain the same.
Please note that the status of each Form 471 will be available in real time. This means that an application may move into and out of more than one status during a given day, and may also move to an earlier status during the course of a review. This movement is a part of the normal review process, and this movement — including the temporary return to an earlier status —should not be cause for concern.
Applications that are on hold because PIA could not reach the contact person during the summer will show the status “Held for Contact Person.” If the contact person returns, he or she can click on this linked status and request a PIA contact to continue the application review process. For more information on deadlines for providing information during the summer and at other times, please refer to the document Deadline for Information Requests posted in the Reference Area of this web site.
For more information on the application status tool or to view the status of a Form 471, please go to the Form 471 Application Status Tool.
The online Form 470 now features the option for posting for Funding Year 2006.
Applicants with very long procurement cycles or other reasons for filing a Form 470 for FY 2006 early in the process may now do so. Because the FY 2006 option must be chosen, it is not necessary to indicate the funding year in Item 13 of the form. However, please note that applicants who file a Form 470 now may be required to file a supplemental form to provide certain information at a later date, e.g., FCC Registration Numbers for applicants and consultants. The supplemental filing, if required, will not require the competitive bidding process initiated by the original Form 470 to be re-opened.
In addition, those applicants who still want to file a Form 470 for FY 2005, such as a state opening a competitive bidding process for a state replacement contract that covers all or part of FY 2005, must file Form 470 on paper and indicate FY 2005 for the funding year in Item 2 of the form.
The denial threshold for commitments on Internal Connections funding requests for FY 2004 has now been set at 80%. This means that the SLD will continue to fund approved requests at discount percentages of 81% and above, and will now deny funding requests with discount percentages of 80% and below.
Applicants who have received Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) with Priority 2 requests marked “As yet unfunded” at discount percentages below 81% will now receive FCDLs with denials for those requests. These denials will begin with Wave 18, which will be issued in the near future.
On April 15, 2005, the Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) of the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) reported to the Federal Communications Commission that $3.65 billion in requested funding has been estimated for schools and libraries seeking E-rate discounts for Funding Year 2005. This estimate is based on the dollars requested in 38,799 applications received or postmarked by February 18, 2005, the close of the Form 471 application filing window.
There are several factors that will reduce ultimately the funds requested from the estimated level. First, while efforts have been made to eliminate duplicate requests, inevitably we will discover more duplication as we process these applications. Second, the SLD's efforts to assure that applications are substantially complete and that funds are committed only for eligible services, for use by eligible entities with the appropriate discount rate, and are otherwise consistent with program rules, will further reduce the demand.
For detailed information, please refer to the FY2005 Demand Estimate Letter to FCC [PDF, 31kb] and the FY2005 Demand Estimate Breakdown [PDF, 13kb].
The SLD is conducting a review of the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to improve the DRT interface and to ensure that the data returned are accurate and useful. To that end, we would like to hear your comments on the current DRT. We are interested in both general comments and comments on adding, deleting, or changing the fields displayed in the specific areas of the DRT. Comments will be accepted through April 8, 2005.
If you have a comment, you may go to the Submit a Question page and choose “Data Retrieval Tool comments” from the Topic Inquiry list. You will then have the following choices:
Choose the area most appropriate to your comment and click “Continue.” You will enter your demographic information, click “Continue” again, and then enter your comment in the text field provided.
If you have multiple comments about the same area of the DRT, please include all of them in the same text field and click “Submit.” If you have comments about more than one area, click “Submit” and then click “Submit Another Question.” Although you will be taken back to the main Submit a Question page to repeat the process, you will not have to re-enter your demographic information.
You may review the current DRT instructions, areas, and data points by viewing the Data Retrieval Tool.
Following is a list of the documents or pages that have changed on this web site since the last posting on updates:
A copy of the Funding Year 2005 Form 471 Receipt Acknowledgment Letter (RAL) [PDF, 52kb] has been posted to the Reference Area. This letter contains useful information about next steps in the application process, including a complete list of allowable corrections that can be made using the RAL correction process. RALs for Funding Year 2005 applications will be issued in daily batches (5,000 applicant letters and 5,000 service provider letters) beginning March 7, 2005 until RALs have been issued for all certified applications. Thereafter, RALs will continue to be issued daily as the data entry of in-window paper Forms 471 and Form 471 certification pages continues.
The updated Contract Expiration Date field in the Data Retrieval Tool will now reflect any change made to the Contract Expiration Date through a successfully data entered Form 500.
The document Transfers of Equipment has been updated with information about the conditions under which equipment purchased with E-rate funds can be transferred. It also describes the process for notifying the SLD of an equipment transfer from a facility that has been permanently or temporarily closed.
On Wednesday, March 9, 2005 from 3:00 to 4:30 PM EST, SLD will host an open WebEx session on the Eligible Product Database Item 21 Attachment. Participants will hear tips on using the online Item 21 Attachment, and have an opportunity to comment on the pilot project. To register, please go to: SLD's WebEx training site.
Seating is limited and signup for the session is first-come first-served. Participants must pay for their own long-distance charges.
WebEx will provide notification via e-mail to those registrants accepted to participate in the training. If you have any questions, please send an E-mail.
The SLD has recently seen marketing efforts regarding video and other services in the Telecommunications and Internet Access categories that misconstrue FCC eligibility requirements.
In the Telecommunications category of service, the FCC’s Eligible Services List indicates, in the listing for “Distance Learning Circuits,” that “[t]ransmission services that provide [video or other] distance learning are eligible for discount.” Some may have mistakenly concluded that this statement indicates that any Distance Learning service is eligible, when in fact the statement is limited to eligibility for the transmission services that enable distance learning.
Since a full distance learning system may include components beyond the FCC’s definition of a telecommunications service, applicants must use care that the costs of ineligible features have been removed when submitting funding requests.
In the Internet Access category of service, the FCC’s Eligible Services List indicates that the Internet Access category of service is “limited to the provision of ‘basic conduit access’ to the Internet.” Some may have mistakenly concluded that Internet Access can include functions that go beyond “basic conduit access” to the Internet, such as a direct exchange of data or video between applicant sites. Such conclusions are incorrect. In the Internet Access category of service, the SLD will only fund services that are within FCC requirements for “basic conduit access” to the Internet. Funding in this category will not be provided for transport of point-to-point connectivity of data, video, or voice applications that are to be provided only by eligible telecommunications carriers.
Applicants are cautioned that funding requests for products and services that are ineligible should not be submitted. Any funding requests that include a combination of eligible and ineligible components must be cost-allocated to remove ineligible features.
SLD has initiated an evaluation of the invoice review process. The goal of this evaluation is to speed up the processing of invoices without compromising program integrity. As SLD implements improvements to the invoice review process, notice will be posted to this web site with “Invoice Improvement Update” in the title. This is the first of these postings.
In the past, if the date for customer billing or shipping reported on a line in Column 11 or Column 12 on an FCC Form 474 (SPI Form) was
the invoice reviewer was required to contact the service provider, work through the discrepancy, and then verify receipt of the necessary documentation that supported compliance with program rules.
Under a recently-enacted change to the review process, if the billing or shipping date in a line item on a SPI Form does not comply with program rules, that line item will be denied.
A line item denied for this reason will be featured on a remittance statement with the appropriate invoice error code. This line item may be submitted on a new SPI Form with the correct date.
If you have any questions, please contact the Client Service Bureau.
If you are still filing your Form 471, and are filing online, you must have a Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN) for each Funding Request in order to progress through Block 5 of the online form. Filers who do not have a SPIN will receive a message as they attempt to complete the form directing them to call the Client Service Bureau (CSB) for assistance.
Please note that SPIN assistance is available for those online filers who have completed the competitive bidding process and selected their service providers, but whose service providers' SPIN assignment has not yet been completed. (Manual filers are able to provide either the service provider name or the SPIN in order to meeting Minimum Processing Standards.) The Item 21 attachment should clearly indicate the name of the service provider. Call the CSB toll-free at 1-888-203-8100, and representatives will provide you this assistance. Remember that the CSB hours of service are 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST.
SLD has posted an improved online Form 474. The information required on the form is the same as the previous version; however, the look and feel is somewhat different. The improved form has more functionality and is easier to use. Following is a summary of the changes:
Block 1, Item 7 – The total invoice amount is now an automatic calculation. This item will be automatically updated each time you complete a new line in Block 2.
Save and Exit – You may now save your work and exit the system without submitting the Form 474. You may then return at a later time to complete and submit the form. To access an incomplete form, you will need the invoice number and security code that was supplied to you after you first completed Block 1. Once you have submitted a Form 474, you may not make any changes to that form. However, you may still view your Form 474 at any time using the invoice number and security code.
Question/Problem – Click this button to submit a problem or comment about the Form 474 to the Client Service Bureau.
Print Preview – When you click the Submit button, the Print Preview function will display a copy of your Form 474. You may print your form at any time using the Print Preview function.
Unlimited number of line items – You may now submit an unlimited number of line items.
Block 2 Line Item Summary – As you add each line item, the Block 2 total will be updated.
If you have any questions please call the Client Service Bureau.
The SLD has begun to issue Receipt Notification Letters for Funding Year 2005 Forms 470. These letters will be mailed in daily batches of about 5,000 per day, from January 31 through February 8, 2005.
You may view a Sample Form 470 Receipt Notification Letter [PDF] in the Reference Area of this web site.
The SLD has posted a sample Letter of Agency (LOA) in the Reference Area of this web site.
A Letter of Agency demonstrates the authorization of the person (on FCC forms, the “Authorized Person”) to sign an FCC form on behalf of one or more eligible schools and/or libraries. Generally, two situations require an LOA or similar authorizing document:
You can view the Sample Letter of Agency through the document Letters of Agency posted to the Reference Area of this web site.
Following is a list of the documents or pages that have changed on this web site since the last posting on updates:
A new link — Site Visits — has been created in the right-hand column of the SLD web pages. This link will take users to a new external web site that acts as a guide to the site visit process, with a description of the process, documentation needed, and contact information
The document Item 21 Attachments for Form 471 has been updated to include optional information that applicants can include in their Item 21 attachments to reduce the likelihood that Program Integrity Assurance will ask for that information during the application review process.
The document Cost Allocation Guidelines for Products and Services that Contain Eligible and Ineligible Components
has been updated to feature the correct telephone number for questions about cost allocation from service providers and manufacturers.
The FY2005 Form 471 application filing window has been extended one day, to 11:59 PM EST on Friday, February 18. The SLD, in consultation with the FCC, has extended the window because the first version of the Letter to the Field for 2005 incorrectly featured January 21, 2005 as the last possible day to post a Form 470 and still file a Form 471 before the close of the filing window. This change will allow applicants who posted a Form 470 on January 21 the opportunity to file a Form 471 before the close of the filing window.
The SLD will conduct the following WebEx training sessions during January and February 2005. To enroll, please go to the following link on the SLD's WebEx training site and click on “Live Sessions”.
Seating is limited and signup for the session is first-come first-serve. Participants must pay for their own long-distance charges.
WebEx will provide notification via e-mail to those registrants accepted to participate in the training. If you have any questions, please send an e-mail to sldwebextraining.
List of topics:
|Session||Date & Time||Presenter|
|Appeals||1/21/2005 3:00 pm EST||Roxane Ortman|
|Commitment Adjustments||1/24/2005 10:00 am EST||Andy Eisley|
|Competitive Bidding||1/24/2005 3:00 pm EST||Catriona Ayer|
|Technology Planning||1/24/2005 4:00 pm EST||Catriona Ayer|
|Program Compliance||1/26/2005 1:30 pm EST||Catriona Ayer|
|Invoicing||2/16/2005 4:00 pm EST||Mick Kraft|
This letter provides you with valuable information on applying for discounts on eligible services for Funding Year 2005 (July 1, 2005 - June 30, 2006) from the Universal Service Support Mechanism's Schools and Libraries Program ("E-rate"). It has been compiled to offer you highlights of the most up-to-date information to assist you in submitting a successful application. The letter contains important dates for Funding Year 2005. "). The letter has been revised. Please note that the last date to post your Form 470 has been corrected to January 21, 2005. Also note that the Funding Year 2005 application filing window closes on February 18, 2005, which is a Friday. Follow this link to the Revised Letter to the Field [PDF, 59kb]
Approved FY2004 Internal Connections Requests To Be Funded to 81%
Wave 11 for Funding Year 2004 will be issued on Tuesday, January 11, 2005. This wave will include funding for approved Internal Connections requests down to the 81% discount level. With this wave, the SLD expects to resume issuing biweekly funding commitment decisions on FY2004 applications.
There is no decision yet on whether funds will be sufficient to fully fund Internal Connections requests with discount percentages below 81%. Further information on funding requests for Internal Connections below 81% will be posted to this web site as it becomes available.
The issuance of this wave is consistent with HR 5419, which President Bush has signed into law. Among other things, this law provides a temporary suspension (through December 31, 2005) of the Antideficiency Act as applied to the Universal Service Fund.
SLD has scheduled a second training session on the Online Item 21 for Wednesday, January 12, from 2:00 - 3:30 PM EST.
To register for a session or to review the complete schedule of all USAC WebEx training sessions — which cover Invoicing, Appeals, Technology Planning, Competitive Bidding, Program Compliance, Audits, and other topics of interest — please visit the SLD WebEx site.