Helpful Tips to Consider when Filing your FCC 471 for E-rate Funding
E-rate Tips for Schools and Libraries
When you’re filing your FCC 471, there are many different parts that can be quite confusing. Due to that complexity, there are also many tips that can come in handy when filing. That’s why we want to follow up our previous post on 471 filings with some more useful ideas that just might help you if you’re stuck. Of course, this whole process can at times be mind boggling, but there are some ways in which USAC goes out of its way to try to simplify the whole thing. Take advantage of these opportunities, because they might just save you a whole lot of time.
We can sum up these tips in 3 sections, be in the right place, at the right time, with the right stuff.
When it Comes to Filing your FCC 471: Be in the right place
Many people find themselves stuck on step 1, not knowing where to file. So, this is the shortest tip that we included as the USAC has made it easy to file your 471 here: EPC
When it Comes to Filing your FCC 471: Be in the right place, at the right time.
When it comes to timing your submission, a common mistake people make on their 471 is actually attempting to file it too early. Because you will be citing your File 470 on your 471, you actually need to wait to ensure that USAC has your 470 on file in order for it to be referenced. The rule of thumb is to wait until the Allowable Contract Date that appears on your Receipt Notification Letter for that form. This should be 28 days after the form was posted on the USAC website.
On the flip side, maybe you’ve filed too late, and now your application is deemed “out-of-window.” Unfortunately, it can be very hard to receive funding if this is the case, but hope is not lost. Your last option is to submit a Window Waiver Request with the FCC. This deserves a post of its own, but for now we’ll introduce you to the process.
Out-of-window applications are not even reviewed by USAC. In order to get it reviewed, you need to get it moved to “in-window” status. The only way to make this happen is to submit the waiver linked below, however it’s important to note that they are not to be submitted to USAC. USAC actually doesn’t approve appeals or waiver requests themselves. Instead, you need to submit your request to the FCC itself, and once the FCC grants your request, USAC can move ahead.
This isn’t as complex as it sounds, and you can file your waiver with the FCC online here: “Submit a Filing” page.
USAC also provides its own guide to filing a waiver, appeals guidance, and look out for more waiver help from us in the future.
When it comes to filing your FCC 471: Be in the right place, with the right stuff.
Next, let’s talk about what you include in your submission. As long as they are filed under a different FRN (Funding Request Number) used to correlate the filing request to the school or library requesting funds. You can include all of your Category One services on the same 471 filed with this FRN. You can do the same with your Category Two services, all on their own form. However, you cannot file your Category One and Two services together on the same 471. So, before you do anything else, carefully sort out the services you are looking for, and prepare to do this entire thing twice.
If you’re confused about which services are in which category, here’s the simple list.
Category One covers Telecommunications, Voice Services, and Internet Access. If that sounds a little like gibberish, here are a handful of concrete examples: Cable Modem, Telephone Dial Up, Dark Fiber, Lit Fiber, Satellite Services, Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), and Ethernet.
Category Two includes Internal Connections, Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections, and Managed Internal Broadband Services. Again, here are some specific services under that umbrella: Antennas, Cabling, Connectors, Caching, Routers, Wireless Control Systems, and Access Points used in LAN or WLAN network environments.
If you want to see a full list of eligible services in both Categories for 2018, check out USAC’s complete breakdown here.
We hope these tips help you request E-rate funding and filing your Form 471. If you have questions or additional tips to help your fellow E-rate filers, leave a comment below or contact us at govcontracts@2NDGEAR.com.
For more on E-rate, check out our additional blogs here.