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FCC Extends Key E-rate Program Deadlines Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

Breaking news: E-rate Deadlines Extended

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On April 1, 2020, the FCC announced extensions of several key E-rate deadlines to provide relief to program participants affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. These are in addition to the already extended Form 471 filing deadline, which has been moved from March 25 to April 29.

These extensions have been put in place to alleviate administrative burdens while most public schools have closed and are transitioning to remote learning.

Given the disruptions caused by the pandemic, the FCC Order:

  1. Waives the service implementation deadline for special construction for all funding year 2019 applicants and extends this deadline by one year, from June 30, 2020, to June 30, 2021.
    Under Commission rules, applicants must complete special construction (e.g., deploying fiber), and the network must be “lit” or in use by June 30 of the applicable funding year. With schools and libraries closed for lengthy periods, the order recognizes that service providers may not be allowed on the premises and may experience significant challenges in meeting this construction deadline.
  2. Extends the service delivery deadline for non-recurring services for Funding Year 2019 by one year, from September 30, 2020, to September 30, 2021.
  3. Grants schools and libraries an automatic 60-day extension to file requests for review or waiver of decisions by USAC.
  4. Provides applicants and service providers an automatic 120-day extension of the invoice filing deadline.
  5. Extends the deadline for filing the FCC Form 486 (Receipt of Service Confirmation and Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) Certification Form), giving applicants an additional 120 days to submit these forms without penalty.
  6. Gives all program participants an additional 30-day extension to respond to certain information requests related to pending USAC appeals, FCC Form 500 (Funding Commitment Adjustment Request Form) requests, invoices, and all audits, including Beneficiary and Contributor Audit Program (BCAP) and Payment Quality Assurance (PQA) audits.

Last month, the FCC directed USAC to extend the deadline for Funding Year 2020 E-rate applications to April 29 and waived the E-rate program’s gift rules to make it easier for broadband providers to support remote learning efforts during the pandemic. Read the FCC Order in full here.

These waivers and extensions should make it much easier for schools to complete ongoing projects and get their 2020-21 filed without risk of denial due to circumstances outside of their control.

Resources To Support You

As a reminder, EducationSuperHighway’s tools and resources are available to support your E-rate application, including:

Form 470 Best Practices
RFP Templates & Guidance
5 Things To Remember When Filing Your E-rate Form 470
Form 471 Guidance & PIA Review

As a non-profit, our mission is to upgrade the Internet access in 99% of America’s classrooms so that all students may take advantage of the promise of digital learning. If your administrative staff have any questions about the changes or require additional support during this time, please contact us by visiting our Upgrade Program page.

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