The E-rate filing window for your Smoothwall Firewalls opens today, February 27th, 2017. The filing window is for E-rate is the amount of time a school or library must be able to submit their FCC Form 471 to USAC to be able to qualify for E-rate funds. All applications must be submitted in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) by May 11th, 2017, before midnight to be considered for FY2017.
Keep in mind, that even though the E-rate filing window closes on May 11th, FCC Form 470 must be posed by April 13th, 2017, in order to provide the 28 days open for bids from service providers.
Details about these deadlines can be found in the Schools and Libraries Program News Brief from February 24th, 2017. For a complete timeline of the full E-rate process, please visit the USAC website in the Apply for E-rate section. There you will find the steps you need to be able to file for E-rate, the application process flowchart, and the forms you’ll need to get everything started.
The Erate process is divided into four basic steps, each of which have their own forms.
The first step is to Request Bids for Service with FCC Form 470. RFP’s requests for proposals may also be issued, but they must be submitted in tandem with Form 470, so all vendors have access to the same information. FCC Form 470 must by posted by April 13th, to qualify for 2017 funding.
The second step in the E-rate process is to apply for Funding with FCC Form 471. These are the forms that must be submitted to the EPC before May 11th, to be able to qualify for funding for FY 2017.
The third step submit FCC Form 486. This should be done after the Funding Commitment Decision Letter has gone out, and after the services have started to your organization.
The fourth and final step in Securing E-rate funding is to Invoice the USAC using either the Service Provider Invoice or the Billed Applicant Reimbursement Method. Smoothwall supports both these methods of invoicing.
The process for submitting these forms to E-rate can be somewhat involved, and mistakes can be incredibly costly to your program, so Smoothwall recommends either designating a member of staff who can receive training and focus on E-rate requirements or hiring a knowledgeable consultant.