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OpenRange E-Rate Program
2016 Deadline Extended, PIA Begins
The Funding Year 2016 Form 471 filing window has been extended to May 26, 2016, for all applicants. This change is the result of difficulties encountered with USAC’s new EPC system. In recent weeks, applicants have submitted numerous requests for an extension of the filing window deadline. Originally scheduled to close April 29, the new window closing date will allow USAC additional time to enhance its system while also giving applicants more time to prepare their paperwork. Read More.
Extra Filing Window for Libraries and Consortia
In an addition to extending the normal filing window, there will also be a second filing window opened specifically for libraries and consortia. The current EPC system requires that these applicants wait for their constituent schools and school districts to enter their information into EPC first. The so-called “second window” will close on July 21, 2016, providing time after schools have submitted their paperwork for libraries and consortia to submit their own complete and accurate applications. The effective Form 470 deadline for these applications will be June 23, 2016. Read More.
Application Review to Begin April 18th
For those applications already submitted, the application review process (known as Program Integrity Assurance, or PIA) will begin as early as April 18, 2016. Applicants who are able are encouraged to submit their funding applications as soon as possible. Every application must be reviewed carefully by USAC. Historically, there is a strong correlation between the submission date and the funding decision letter date: the sooner an application is submitted, the sooner it is likely to be funded.
State E-Rate Coordinator
E-rate was created by the U.S. Telecommunications Act of 1996 to ensure that schools and libraries, particularly those in low-income and rural areas, have affordable access to telecommunications, Internet services and related technology equipment. With the E-Rate Modernization Order, adopted July 11, 2014 (summary) and the Second E-Rate Modernization Order, adopted December 11, 2014 (summary), the focus shifted from telecommunications in general to broadband to the student in the classroom. The current cap on E-rate is $3.9 billion per year, with an additional $1 billion per year set aside for the Funding Year 15 and Funding Year 16 to provide for wireless in the classroom. Oklahoma currently receives about $49 million per year in E-rate subsidies, with about $25 million going to support Internet connectivity in schools and libraries.
OpenRange has partnered with Funds For Learning, a nationally recognized E-rate consulting firm, to provide Oklahoma schools and libraries with complimentary E-rate support services, including a help desk with real time assistance with common E-rate questions, live and prerecorded online E-rate training sessions and special news and information updates delivered via email. Use these services today.