Your Technology Resource for E-rate, Schools, and Libraries

Data Distribution&Wireless * Firewalls&SecurityServers Solutions * Power&Data Protection * VoIP * Maintenance

E-RateForSchools
Dallas, Denver, Washington DC
(214) 216-6000 (Contact Us)

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the federal e-rate funding program, and the information technology services we provide.


Q1: Does E-RateForSchools only provide e-rate eligible technologies or do they also provide schools with technologies that are not currently e-rate eligible?:

A: E-RateForSchools provides technologies schools need, independent of the school’s e-rate eligibility. We do our homework on technology to (1) provide you with sound, helpful solutions and (2) help you cover the costs if the solutions are e-rate eligible.

Q1a: If I have a question that is not addressed in the FAQ or Knowledge Center, will E-RateForSchools help me?

A: Yes. E-RateForSchools would like to earn your business as a trusted, valued Service Provider.  We continuously post and update FAQs and Knowledge Center writings to let Applicants know that we understand E-rate and that we are committed to quality and value.  We believe in the E-rate program and its fundamental goal: to assist the students.

As a Service Provider, we are limited to discussions that are consistent with the Fair and Open Competitive Bidding Rule.  If we can not directly help you we would be happy to point you in the right direction.  We welcome hearing your questions; email us any time at info@e-rateforschools.com

Q2: What are the major changes to the Form 470 and Form 471 for FY2011?:

A: There are numerous changes between the old Form 470 and Form 471 and the existing newly revised forms such as form timelines, general format changes, additions, deletions and changes common to both forms. The highlights include the following:

Consultant Information: If you use a consultant then this person and associated consultant number will be identified on both Form 470 and Form 471. The consultant may not be affiliated to the Service Provider that provides cost quotations and proposals. USAC was very specific on this point; the consultant may not be a part of the service provider vendor that quotes your services. USAC stated that this type of dual role represents a potential conflict of interest and should be reported immediately to USAC complaints resolution. Recommendation: E-RateForSchools recommends that you not consider this type of dual role consultant. It would be very difficult to justify this prohibited practice in an audit situation.

 Technology Plan Certification: “I certify that, if required by Commission rules, all of the individual schools and libraries receiving services under this form are covered by technology plans that do or will cover all 12 months of the funding year, and that have been or will be approved by a state or other authorized body, or an SLD-certified technology plan approver, prior to the commencement of service; or I certify that no technology plan is required by Commission rules.” Recommendation: E-RateForSchools recommends that you if required you certify your technology plan sooner rather than later.

Educational Purposes Certification : “I certify that the services the applicant purchases at discounts provided by 47 U.S.C. § 254 will be used primarily for educational purposes and will not be sold, resold or transferred in consideration for money or any other thing of value, except as permitted by the Commission’s rules at 47 C.F.R. §§ 54.500, 54.513. Additionally, I certify that the entity or entities listed on this form have not received anything of value or a promise of anything of value, other than services and equipment sought by means of this form, from the service provider, or any representative or agent thereof or any consultant in connection with this request for services.” Recommendation: E-RateForSchools recommends that you ensure not only your compliance to these program mandates but you should also ensure that your selected Service Provider respects your rules as well. All staff including top management at E-RateForSchools commit themselves to respecting all e-rate program rules including both Service Providers and applicant rules for applicants.

Q3: Can I add, delete, or change the items in my form 470 form?:

A: Yes. If one needs to make additions, deletions, or changes to the details of their RFP or Form 470 that impact eligible products and services, then a new Form must be submitted and certified by the applicant AND the 28 say open bid waiting period resets.

According to the Fair and Open Competitive Bidding Rule additions and modifications to the 470 must be made available at the same time and in a uniform manner to all potential bidders. Please refer to Q7 for more information on the Fair and Open Competitive Bidding Rule.

Q4: Do I have to file a technology plan?:

A: It depends on whether you are applying for Priority Two (P2) services that include internal connections and Basic Maintenance of internal connections. Please be aware that formally Priority One (P1) Services (Telecom and Internet Access) included on-premise equipment. Now on-premise equipment is classified as P2 services. Therefore, for applicants requesting P2 services for FY2011 then the following are the requirements:

  • If applicants complete their own Form 470 then new technology plan must be in place if the old one did not include P2 services.

  • If applicants cite a State-filed Form 470, then a separate technology plan is not needed.

Q5: What are the requirements of Fair and Open Competitive Bidding Rule as cited in the new FCC Report and Order?:

A: Rule violations include but are certainly not limited to:

  • Applicant has relationship with Service Provider that unfairly influences the outcome of the competition or provides “inside” knowledge.

  • Someone other than applicant or applicant’s representative signs and submits the Form 470. (NOTE: A Service Provider must never complete the Form 470)

  • If a Service Provider is listed as a contact on the Form 470 then this Service Provider is not allowed to be a bidder.

  • Applicant employee who is part of the selection process has an ownership or concealed business relationship in a bidding Service Provider or vendor.

  • Applicant must follow the stricter of state/local procurement rules or FCC rules.

  • Service Provider gifts or meals to applicants are generally not allowed with a few exceptions such as meals or incidentals that are less than $20 in value and in aggregate do not exceed $50 per funding year.

Recommendation: If you choose E-RateForSchools as your service provider then all E-RateForSchools management, staff, and employees are committed to obeying both your Applicant rules as well as our own Service Provider rules. If you choose another service provider please ensure that this reputable service provider is also committed in writing to following all e-rate program rules.

Q6: What are the steps for a School or Library to properly complete the e-rate process?:

A: Please refer directly to the USAC website: http://www.usac.org/sl/ . If you have any questions or concerns you may send them to USAC or email the question to info@E-RateForSchools . If the question is not immediately answerable, then the E-RateForSchools Washington DC regional office will follow up with USAC and obtain a timely answer to your concern or question.

Q7: What equipment and services are eligible in the E-rate program?:

A: The current Eligible Services List for Funding Year 2011 is accessible via the links below: 

The latest 2011 Eligible Services List:
http://www.lifelinesupport.org/_res/documents/sl/pdf/ESL_archive/EligibleServicesList_110910.pdf

A marked up copy of the 2010 Eligible Services List (shows changes from 2010):
http://www.e-ratecentral.com/FCC/eslArchive/ESL_2011.pdf

Q8: What are the start and end dates for the FY2011 Form 471 application filing window?:

A: The filing window opens at 12:00 noon EST on Tuesday January 11, 2011. This is the 1st date a Service Provider can see an Applicant’s (school or library) filed form 470 and begin bidding. Open bidding rules require the bids to remain open for a minimum of 28 days before the Applicant can select a Service Provider and file the form 471 to close the bidding process. The last day an Applicant can add or change the form 470 is February 24, 2011. The Applicant must file the form 471 to close the bidding process before the end of the filing window. The filing window closes at 11:59 pm EDT on Thursday March 24, 2011. This is a 73 day bid window from start to finish if the Applicant had their form 470 filed by the window opening date.

Q9: What forms do I need to use for FY2011 filing?:

A: You MUST use the newly revised form 470 and 471 available on the USAC website, the old 470 and 471 forms dated November 2004 will NOT be accepted. The forms are available both as electronic, web based forms (preferred) and as PDF downloads to be filled in manually.

  • If you filed the old 470 Form online, you must certify it online or on paper before the newly revised Form 470 is posted.

  • If you filed the old 470 Form on paper, you must postmark it before the newly revised Form 470 goes live on the website.

Q10: How do the applicant and the service provider get paid?

A: FCC rules require USAC to pay universal service support to service providers and not directly to applicants.
Two invoicing options exist:

  • BEAR
    The Applicant pays the Service Provider for all products and services and the Applicant (Billed Entity) files a Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) Form 472 to USAC for reimbursement of eligible products and services (the subsidized amount). The Billed Entity must have paid for the total amount of the products and services provided by the service provider, including both subsidized and non-subsidized components.
  • SPI
    The Applicant pays the Service Provider only for the non-eligible products and services (both the non-subsidized portions of the eligible products and services and the non-eligible products and services) and the Service Provider submits a Service Provider Invoice (SPI) Form 474 to USAC for reimbursement of the subsidized portion of eligible products and services.  The Service Provider enumerates the amount of the product and service discount (subsidy) in the invoice sent to the Applicant.

In both cases the Service Provider must approve the forms and in both cases the Applicant must have submitted a Receipt of Service Confirmation Form (Form 486) to mark the start of service delivery. 

Q11: Are maintenance services eligible for E-Rate funds?

A:  Basic maintenance services are eligible for universal service support as priority two internal connections service if, but for the maintenance at issue, the internal connection would not function and serve its intended purpose with the degree of reliability ordinarily provided in the marketplace to entities receiving such services.  Thus, requests for routine maintenance will continue to be funded. In addition, if applicants are able to estimate a certain number of hours per year for maintenance, based on the current life of their equipment and a history of needed repairs and upkeep, they may seek E-rate funds for upfront costs on service contracts designed to cover this estimate of repairs and upkeep. Reimbursements will be paid on the actual work performed and hours used only.

A manufacturer’s multi-year warranty provided as an integral part of an eligible component without separately identifiable cost can be included in the cost of the component.  The warranty can be of no more than three years that is included in the price of eligible equipment should continue to be eligible as priority two internal connections equipment.

Unbundled warranties are not eligible because it is purchased as a type of retainer and not as an actual maintenance service. Because these contracts require an upfront payment and that payment is required regardless of whether any service is actually performed they are not eligible.

Q12: Where do I obtain my entity number for the Form470?

A:  Your Entity Number is a unique number assigned to your organization or institution as a means of identifying you every time you file an application or otherwise communicate with us. If you have applied for universal service funds in previous years, or have been identified in an application filed on your behalf, you have already been assigned this number. If you do not have a record of your Entity Number, or if you have never been assigned such a number, please contact CSB.

Q13: Under what conditions does a school or library need to be CIPA compliant?

A: The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) applies when a school or library under the E-rate program uses universal service funding to obtain discounted Internet access service, internal connections or basic maintenance of internal connections.

CIPA compliance is not required when telecommunications, VoIP or fiber services are requested, for telecommunications transmission purposes (even in the Internet access category). However, if any other Internet access services such as basic Internet access, web hosting or e-mail service are included or bundled with the telecommunications, VoIP or fiber services, CIPA compliance is required.

For more infomation on CIPA, click the link below:
http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/cipa.html