FCC adding second application window for schools for Emergency Connectivity Fund Program

In view of outstanding demand and the recent spike in coronavirus cases, the FCC announced in a recent press release that they will open a second application filing window for schools and libraries to request funding from the roughly $2 billion in program funds remaining for connected devices and broadband connections for off-campus use by students, school staff, and library patrons for the current 2021-22 school year.

The second application filing window will open on September 28 and run until October 13.  Eligible schools and libraries will be able to apply for financial support for eligible equipment and services received or delivered between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022, for students, school staff and library patrons with unmet needs.

The FCC also recently announced that requests for $5.137 billion in funding to support 9.1 million connected devices and 5.4 million broadband connections were received during the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program’s initial application filing window. The window, which closed August 13, 2021, attracted applicants from all 50 states, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia — including schools and libraries in both rural and urban communities seeking funding for eligible equipment and services received or delivered between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022.

Coming Soon: Service providers will have access to the ECF Portal through their OnePortal dashboard. They will be able to see any funding requests that they are associated with through the ECF Portal. Applicants and service providers who agree to invoice on behalf of applicants will also use the ECF Portal to submit requests for reimbursement (i.e., FCC Forms 472 or 474) for the ECF Program.

Need Help? Applicants and service providers can contact the Emergency Connectivity Fund Customer Support Center (CSC) with questions at (800) 234-9781 Monday – Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CDT or submit a case in the ECF Portal.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will it take to hear back about my application?
Currently, we do not have an exact timeline on the application review. Once a decision has been made, you will receive an email with the final decision. Please keep in mind you may still receive an Information Request email regarding an application, if further information is needed. The FCC has set a goal to process 50% of all workable applications filed within 60 days after the close of the filing window. In general, ECF FCC Forms 471 are reviewed as they are received, but many other factors can cause some reviews to take longer than expected. Please be assured that we are working on the review of all applications as expeditiously as possible.

Will I have visibility in the ECF portal for the committed version of my application?
Yes — applicants will be able to see the committed version of the funding requests submitted within an application.

I was unable to certify my application prior to the deadline on August 13, 2021, but I still want to get reimbursed — is there anything I can do?
File and certify the ECF FCC Form 471 as soon as possible, if you have not already. You will receive a notification that your form was filed outside of the filing window.

ECF FCC Forms 471 certified after the close of the application filing window will be put in an out-of-window status and will not be reviewed by USAC. The applicant must request – and FCC must grant — a waiver of the application filing window deadline for USAC to be able to move these applications to an in-window filing status.

Note that USAC cannot approve an appeal or waiver request that asks for a waiver of the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program rules — you must file a request for waiver with the FCC.

Detailed instructions on how to request a waiver from the FCC can be found at emergencyconnectivityfund.org/submit-window-waiver-requests.

You must file your waiver within 30 days of the date when USAC issued the out-of-window status notification. The FCC will consider electronic appeals as filed on a business day if they are received before 10:59 p.m. CDT. If you have questions or comments about using the Commission’s electronic comment filing system (ECFS), please contact the FCC directly at (202) 418-0193.

Will application and pricing information be made available through USAC’s Open Data platform?
Yes. The Order provides that Emergency Connectivity Fund Program application and pricing data will be made available through Open Data within 160 days after the initial application filing window closes and we are making every effort to make this data available earlier, if possible.

If the service provider is invoicing on behalf of the applicant, does it need a Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN) for ECF?
Yes.

Can applicants change the make or model of their equipment after they file their applications?
Yes, applicants may make service and equipment substitutions after receiving a funding commitment.

Does an applicant using SPI invoicing need to register with SAM.gov?
No, applicants who are only using service providers who will file invoices on their behalf for ECF reimbursement (SPI invoicing) are not required to register in SAM.gov.

Please review the FCC’s Emergency Connectivity Fund FAQs, which it continues to update as new questions come in: www.fcc.gov/emergency-connectivity-fund-faqs .

For More Information

More detail on the Program is available in the FCC Order that established the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program. To learn more, please visit EmergencyConnectivityFund.org and sign up for Emergency Connectivity Fund Program emails.

Applicants and service providers can also contact the Emergency Connectivity Fund CSC with questions at (800) 234-9781 Monday – Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CDT.

About mnmsba

The Minnesota School Boards Association, a leading advocate for public education, supports, promotes and strengthens the work of public school boards.
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