[Erate] E Rate Central News for the Week of September 4, 2006
Sabrina.Ganoe at state.or.us
Mon Sep 11 08:55:03 PDT 2006
E-Rate Central News for the Week of September 4, 2006
* FY 2006 and FY 2005 Funding Status
* SLD Fall Training to Begin
* BellSouth and Verizon Drop DSL Surcharges
The E-Rate Central News for the Week is prepared by E-Rate Central.
E-Rate Central specializes in providing consulting, compliance, and
forms processing services to E-rate applicants and service providers.
To learn more about our services, please contact us by phone
(516-832-2880) or by e-mail <mailto:services at e-ratecentral.com>
(services at e-ratecentral.com). Additional E-rate information is located
on the E-Rate Central Web site <http://www.e-ratecentral.com/>
(http://www.e-ratecentral.com <http://www.e%1eratecentral.com/> ).
FY 2006 and FY 2005 Funding Status
Wave 20 for FY 2006 is scheduled to be released on September 6th for
approximately $9 million. Cumulative national FY 2006 funding is now
$636 million. Funding is still being provided only for Priority 1
Wave 56 for FY 2005 is scheduled to be released on September 7th. It is
expected to provide funding of about $24 million. Total FY 2005 funding
is now $1.74 billion, still more than $500 million below the allowable
cap amount. This continues to suggest that the Internal Connections
funding threshold, which currently remains stuck at 84%, can eventually
be reduced a few percentage points.
SLD Fall Training to Begin
The SLD's annual fall training program is set to begin this coming
Thursday in Washington DC. Five additional regional workshops, each
lasting a day and a half, will be conducted nationwide later in
September and October.
The theme for this year's workshops will be "Training for Success."
Based on the preliminary agenda, the workshops are expected to focus on:
* General program "enhancements" and "compliance"
* Guidance on the "Two-in-Five" rule, including a description of a
new SLD database tool for checking an entity's Two-in-Five status
* Ministerial and clerical error procedures (based on the FCC's
Bishop Perry decision)
* Eligible services
* Description of the SLD's new online BEAR system
* Invoicing procedures
* "The Path to Success" (i.e., best practices)
Copies of the training slides for these topics have been posted on the
SLD's Web site (see
.aspx). Although we plan to cover the SLD training topics in more
detail in subsequent newsletters, a preliminary review of the slides
indicates the following key points of interests and/or SLD guidance:
1. Correction of ministerial and clerical errors
a. The Form 471 Receipt Acknowledgement Letter ("RAL") format is
being revised to include fill-in blanks next to fields that can be
b. The deadline for responding to SLD inquiries on correctable
errors is 15 days.
2. Online BEAR
a. Procedures are being put in place for issuing special BEAR
submittal and acknowledgment PINs for applicants and service providers,
b. BEARs not electronically acknowledged by service providers
within 15 days will be canceled.
3. Compliance issues
a. Tech plans: Applicants may be asked to produce copies of
technology plans bearing a pre-Form 470 submittal "creation date."
b. Budget: Applicants may be asked for dated documentation that
they had secured access to their funding share before certification of
their Form 471s. (Editorial note: if strictly applied, this may be
impossible for most applicants.)
c. Procurement practices:
i. Applicants can set some requirements for bidders (e.g., system
ii. "Applicants must be prepared to explain if and how they
disqualified bids;" and
iii. "Applicants must inform all bidder of any requirement that could
lead to disqualification."
d. Use of state master contracts:
i. Unless a state contract was competitively bid and awarded to a
single party, applicants "must be able to document why they selected the
specific provider;" and
ii. "Only Terms and Conditions, not prices" types of contracts do
not meet FCC contract requirements.
4. Eligible Services
a. Internet access: The SLD is stressing that Internet networks,
not being provided by eligible telecommunications providers, are
eligible if providing only "basic conduit access" to the Internet
(specifically not point-to-point connectivity of data, video, or voice).
b. Cost-effectiveness: Although acknowledging that the FCC does not
have "bright line" standards for evaluating cost effectiveness, the SLD
indicates that it "will not approve funding requests that have
unreasonable costs compared to the marketplace."
c. Misuse of ESL: The SLD reports cases involving
"misinterpretations" of the Eligible Services Lists, and cautions that
it "is not able to fund 'creative interpretations' that are not based on
FCC policies." Examples provided include:
i. WAN facilities as part of Internet access (see 4.a above);
ii. Wireless Internet from ineligible locations;
iii. Extensive configuration changes as "basic maintenance;" and
iv. Video services, beyond transmission, as priority 1.
5. FY 2007 application window: Tentatively planned to open in
mid-November and close in early February (at least one week earlier than
previous two years, unless delayed by late FCC approval of ESL).
Anyone interested in attending one of the SLD's workshops (and not
already registered) should check the SLD's Web site for current
t.aspx). At one point, all the sessions had been oversubscribed, but
the SLD has worked hard to confirm registrations and fill vacancies from
the waiting lists. As of the end of August, the SLD was again accepting
registrations for Seattle (Sept. 20-21), Atlanta (Oct. 3-4), and San
Diego (Oct. 19-20).
BellSouth and Verizon Drop DSL Surcharges
Last year, when the FCC deregulated telephone company DSL data services,
it ruled that as of August 14, 2006, the companies would no longer have
to collect Universal Service fees on these lines (typically $1-3 per
month, depending upon line speed). As the August 14th date approached,
BellSouth and Verizon announced that they would begin assessing new
surcharges, at about the same time and at about the same level, to cover
other operational, regulatory, and/or administrative costs. This past
week, both companies withdrew the new surcharges in the face of strong
protests from consumers and letters of "inquiry" from the FCC itself.
>From an E-rate perspective, this is a small piece of good news for
BellSouth's and Verizon's DSL customers. Although the previously
assessed Universal Service fees were eligible for E-rate discounts, it
was not altogether clear that the new surcharges would likewise be
eligible. The Eligible Services List indicates that taxes, surcharges,
and other similar, reasonable charges incurred in obtaining eligible
products and services are themselves eligible, but that certain
additional administrative charges are not. It remained to be seen how
these new surcharges would have been defined and how they would have
been treated by the SLD. Fortunately, it now seems that those questions
Disclaimer: This newsletter may contain unofficial information on
prospective E-rate developments and/or may reflect E-Rate Central's own
interpretations of E-rate practices and regulations. Such information is
provided for planning and guidance purposes only. It is not meant, in
any way, to supplant official announcements and instructions provided by
either the SLD or the FCC.
Oregon Department of Education
Office of Assessment and Information Services
255 Capitol St. N.E.
Salem, Oregon 97310
(503) 378-5156 fax
sabrina.ganoe at state.or.us
Messages to & from this e-mail address may be made available to the
public under Oregon Law
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