Coronavirus Impact on E-Rate: Filing Window Extended and Other Changes

Bob Nilsson Director, Vertical Solutions Marketing Published 20 Mar 2020

The FCC and USAC have announced a filing extension, the waiving of gift rules, and additional resources for education. Here are some important new resources for education IT during the coronavirus crisis.

If you’re part of a K-12 school system or library, you now have an additional 35 days to apply for E-rate funding. This effects the filing deadline for the FCC Form 471, “Description of Services Ordered and Certification Form”. Here’s what Funds For Learning has to say about the FCC order, which is in reaction to potential coronavirus disruptions. The new filing deadline is 11:59 PM ET, April 29, 2020.

According to the FCC, the application deadline extension means that Forms 470 filed on or before April 1, 2020 will be within program’s 28-day competitive bidding requirement.  Funding Year 2020’s filing window extension is the first since FY2016 and the eighth in program history. The FCC’s Public Notice announcing the extension may be found here.

An email from USAC, the administrative body of the e-rate program, assures us that they are “committed to the health and safety of our employees, contractors, and stakeholders during the COVID-19 pandemic. USAC remains fully operational. All USAC customer support centers remain open.”

Gift Rules Suspended

The FCC has announced that certain gifting rules for E-rate have been suspended until September 30th of 2020 in response to coronavirus pandemic. Here’s the FCC Order waiving the rules applicable to both the E-rate and the Rural Health Care (RHC) programs that assist schools, libraries, and rural health care providers affected by COVID-19. This change enables schools healthcare providers to obtain free broadband connections and devices, which can help with remote learning and telemedicine during the coronavirus outbreak. The gifting rules would normally prohibit schools participating in the E-Rate program from accepting anything of value from a service provider or vendor also participating in the program. We recommend that schools take a careful look at the order and consult with their E-rate adviser to determine exactly how it will apply to their school.

Attending our Wireless Wednesday Webinar

We invite all schools to join our Wireless Wednesday webinar to learn about cloud-driven networking. The free online webinars are every Wednesday at 1pm ET through 16 Dec 2020. During the weekly webinar, you’ll witness the benefits of cloud-driven end-to-end networking with ExtremeCloud IQ, and learn how network automation with machine learning and AI simplifies your network management.

Joint E-Rate Webinar with Funds For Learning

To learn more about E-rate and the changes afoot for the coming fiscal years, be sure to join our webinar with Funds For Learning, being scheduled for May 5 at 2:00. During this webinar, FFL will go over new rules and what to expect for 2021, as well as updates and data analysis from the 2020 funding window. Registration information will be available shortly.

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