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November 2004 Announcements

Please click on the topic below to view the most recent announcements:



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Holiday Hours Announcement (11/23/04)

The Schools and Libraries Client Service Bureau will be closed on Thursday, November 25 and Friday, November 26, 2004 in observance of Thanksgiving. The Client Service Bureau will resume normal operations on Monday, November 29, 2004 at 8:00 a.m. EST.

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Contractor Chosen for Expanded Outreach and Education Initiative (11/19/04)

In an expanded outreach effort to recipients of E-rate discounted services, USAC has engaged BearingPoint, Inc. to conduct site visits, which will:

  • educate applicants regarding program rules and answer questions,
  • provide firsthand knowledge on how E-rate funds are being used,
  • solicit suggestions on ways for USAC to improve its outreach and education efforts,
  • identify “best practices” to publicize for possible use by other program participants, and
  • verify the receipt and function of invoiced E-rate products and services.

BearingPoint is a global consulting firm, providing services to assist clients with their business process and technology issues; they work extensively with government, education, and technology organizations.

The site visit initiative will provide USAC with valuable information on both program compliance and outreach efforts. Under this initiative, USAC will select approximately 80 school and library sites for visits each month beginning in mid-January 2005. The selection will be based on recent invoice activity. As Bearing Point provides reports on its visits, USAC will review the information gathered and prepare and post a "Best Practices" document based on that information. USAC will also take this information into account when designing future outreach and education efforts, and will explore administrative changes to make the application process run more smoothly.

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Registration Open For FINAL 2004 Service Provider Training in San Diego, California (11/12/04)

SLD is pleased to announce that registration is now open for service provider training in San Diego, California.

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Funding Year 2005 Form 471 Filing Window Established (11/05/04)

The Schools and Libraries Committee of the USAC Board of Directors has approved a 66-day filing window for Funding Year 2005 (July 1, 2005 through June 30, 2006). The window will open at noon (EST) on Tuesday, December 14, 2004 and close at 11:59 pm (EST) on Thursday, February 17, 2005. Pursuant to the FCC's Third Report and Order (FCC 03-323), which adopted a more formal, transparent process for updating the Eligible Services List, the opening of the filing window must occur 60 days after release of the Commission public notice announcing the final list. The list was issued by the Commission on October 14, which means that the window opening date may be no earlier than December 13. Accordingly, the window opening will be delayed from the traditional early November opening. The window close date has been moved later in time to ensure an adequate filing window.

It is important to note that Forms 470 may be filed -- online or on paper -- today. There is no need to wait for the opening of the filing window to post Forms 470. While there will be a new Form 470 for Funding Year 2005, applicants posting Forms 470 may use the existing form until the new form is available. If the existing Form 470 is used, that will be all that will be required for 470 posting for 2005 -- no additional action will be necessary to meet the requirement to post for new services. New certifications on the new Form 470 will be on the new Form 471 as well, so applicants using the current Form 470 will certify to those new requirements on the new Form 471.

If applicants wait for the opening of the filing window to file the Form 470, they may have difficulty completing the procurement process and filing the Form 471 by the close of the filing window. Any applicant who would be so affected is strongly encouraged to file the Form 470 before the opening of the 471 filing window.

There will be a new Form 471 for Funding Year 2005. That new form will become available for online filing as the filing window opens. A summary of the changes to Form 471 can be found on this web site in the Form 471 Changes presentation [PowerPoint format; 162kb].

For a Form 471 to be treated as having been filed within the window, the following must occur:

  • Form 471 must be completed online or postmarked if filed on paper by the close of the filing window, and
  • The certification page for an online Form 471 and certification pages for any Forms 470 filed online and cited on the Form 471 must be completed online via e-certification or postmarked by the close of the filing window.

As always, we encourage applicants to file Forms 471 and the 471 and 470 certifications as early in the filing window as possible and to submit the Item 21 attachments as soon after filing the Form 471 as possible. With a later filing window close, USAC will have less time than it has in prior years to review applications before the start of the funding year. When we receive all of an applicant's applications along with the Item 21 attachments, they will go into Program Integrity Assurance review. Applications filed early in the window can generally be expected to be ready earlier than later-filed applications for Funding Commitment Decision Letters.

We also encourage applicants to separate their Priority 1 requests (telecommunications services and Internet access) from their Priority 2 requests (internal connections other than basic maintenance, and basic maintenance of internal connections) and file them on separate Forms 471.

There are some important changes in the E-rate program for Funding Year 2005 (including the Form 471 changes mentioned above). An easy way to become familiar with these changes is to review the training presentations for Funding Year 2005 on the Training Presentations page of this web site or to view recorded WebEx training sessions on the same topics on our branded WebEx site.

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USAC to Resume Issuing Funding Commitment Decision Letters (11/03/04)

In early August, USAC suspended issuance of Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) for both schools and libraries and rural health care providers for all funding years. USAC has worked closely with the FCC since then and has now determined the amount of unobligated cash it has available to cover new commitments and will resume issuing new FCDLs within the next two weeks. Full Article

 

 

Content Last Modified: November 23, 2004