CIPA REMINDER

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on CIPA REMINDER
Jun 272012
 

Beginning July 1, 2012, applicants who receive E-Rate discounts for Internet Access, Internal Connections, and/or Basic Maintenance must certify that they have updated their Internet safety policies to ensure that minors are educated about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with others on social networking websites and in chat rooms, as well as cyberbullying awareness and response.

Schools and libraries must have two things in place:

1. Internet Safety Policy. For schools, the policy must include monitoring the online activities of minors. An Internet safety policy must address the following:

• Access by minors to inappropriate material on the Internet and World Wide Web;
• The safety and security of minors when using electronic mail, chat rooms, and other forms of direct electronic communication;
• Unauthorized access including “hacking” and other unlawful activities by minors online;
• Unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal information regarding minors; and
• Measures designed to restrict minors’ access to material harmful to minors.

2. Technology Protection Measure (or Filter). This is a specific technology that blocks or filters certain Internet material. It must protect against access to child pornography, visual depictions that are obscene, and, when minors are accessing the Internet, material that may be harmful to minors. The filter may be disabled for adults engaged in bona fide research or other lawful purposes.

The applicant’s “Administrative Authority” must make the relevant certification on either the FCC Form 486 (Receipt of Service Confirmation Form) or FCC Form 479 (Certification of Administrative Authority to Billed Entity of Compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act).

For a school, the Administrative Authority is the school, school district, school board, local educational agency, or other authority with responsibility for administration of the school. For a library, the Administrative Authority is the library, library board, or other authority with responsibility for administration of the library.

If the Administrative Authority is also the Billed Entity, the Administrative Authority certifies compliance with CIPA on the FCC Form 486. If the Administrative Authority is not the Billed Entity, the Administrative Authority completes the FCC Form 479 and sends it to the Billed Entity. The Billed Entity then certifies on the FCC Form 486 that it has received the executed FCC Form 479 from the Administrative Authority. (Remember, the Billed Entity does not need to collect an FCC Form 479 if it is only receiving discounts on Telecommunications Services.)

For more information about CIPA compliance, please contact the Troy Law Group (www.troylawgroup.com).

LAST DAY TO RECEIVE RECURRING SERVICES FOR FY2011 IS JUST WEEKS AWAY

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on LAST DAY TO RECEIVE RECURRING SERVICES FOR FY2011 IS JUST WEEKS AWAY
Jun 142012
 

The last day to receive recurring services for Funding Year 2011 is June 30, 2012. The last day to invoice USAC for those services is October 29, 2012. For service providers, there are a number of things to keep in mind.

If the applicant pays in full for the services and seeks reimbursement of the discount amount by filing a Billed Entity Reimbursement (BEAR) Form (FCC Form 472), the service provider must: (1) bill the applicant for the full cost of the service and remind the applicant to pay its bill in full before submitting the BEAR Form; (2) remind the applicant to provide the service provider with enough time to review and approve the BEAR Form before the invoicing deadline; (3) respond promptly to requests from USAC for additional information; and (4) reimburse the applicant the discount amount within 20 business days of receipt from USAC.

If the applicant pays the non-discount portion of the cost of the service and the service provider files a Service Provider Invoice (SPI) Form (FCC Form 474), the service provider must: (1) send out all remaining bills for the non-discount portion before it files the SPI Form; (2) remind the applicant that it is expected to pay its bills within 90 days; and (3) respond promptly to requests from USAC for additional information.

If an applicant or service provider misses the deadline for submitting a BEAR or SPI Form, it must request an extension of the deadline before a new invoice can be submitted. USAC has identified the following reasons for seeking an extension:

• Authorized service provider changes
• Authorized service substitutions
• No timely USAC notice (e.g., the service provider’s FCC Form 486 Notification Letter is returned as undeliverable)
• USAC errors (for example, in data entry) that ultimately result in a late invoice
• Documentation requirements that necessitate third-party contact or certification
• Natural or man-made disasters that prevent timely filing of invoices
• “Good Samaritan” BEAR Forms
• Circumstances beyond the service provider’s control

USAC updates the FRN Extension Table after an invoice deadline extension request has been granted. The extended deadline will appear in the far right-hand column of the search results.

For more information about invoicing USAC or requesting an invoice extension, please contact the Troy Law Group (www.troylawgroup.com).

TECHNOLOGY PLANS MUST BE APPROVED BEFORE SERVICES START FOR FY2012

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on TECHNOLOGY PLANS MUST BE APPROVED BEFORE SERVICES START FOR FY2012
Jun 042012
 

Another deadline is rapidly approaching. Schools and libraries receiving Priority 2 services (Internal Connections and Basic Maintenance) must have an approved technology plan in place before services start for Funding Year 2012 (FY2012). Applicants will be required to formally certify on their FCC Form 486 that the technology plans on which their purchases are based were approved before they began to receive service.

A technology plan is a plan prepared by a school or library to explain how telecommunications and information technology will be used to achieve educational goals, curriculum reforms, or library service improvements. In general, technology plans should not cover more than three years. Technology plans should: (1) be written (at least in draft form) before an FCC Form 470 is posted to the USAC website; (2) cover all twelve months of the funding year; and (3) be approved by a USAC-certified Technology Plan Approver (TPA) before services start and an FCC Form 486 is filed.

If your plan has not been approved, you will need to act quickly to get it approved before services start (for FY2012, this can be as early as July 1, 2012). USAC cannot pay discounts for Priority 2 services not covered by an approved technology plan. If your current technology plan expires before your service start date and you do not know whether your new plan has been approved, contact your TPA. If your plan has been approved, be sure to keep a copy of the technology plan approval letter or other evidence – such as a printout of a TPA webpage listing approved plans – that demonstrates the approval.

For more information about technology plans, please contact us by clicking the “Visit Troy Law Group” link above.