NON-RECURRING SERVICE DELIVERY DEADLINE IS APPROACHING

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Sep 272012
 

The deadline for the delivery and installation of non-recurring services (i.e., internal connections) for Fiscal Year 2011 is rapidly approaching. All non-recurring services must be received by September 30, 2012, if no extension has been granted.

If you must request an extension for the delivery and installation of non-recurring services, the deadline for doing so is also September 30, 2012. The applicant or service provider must file a “service delivery deadline extension request” to extend the service delivery deadline. A one-year extension of the deadline can be requested if: (1) the service provider was unable to complete delivery and installation of the services for reasons beyond the service provider’s control; or (2) the applicant certifies that the service provider was unwilling to complete delivery after USAC withheld payment for the services on a properly submitted invoice for more than 60 days.

When requesting a service delivery deadline extension, it is also important to check the term of the applicable contract. If the contract expires before the date when services will be delivered, the applicant and service provider must extend the term of the existing contract (assuming such an extension is allowed by the terms of the contract and any applicable state and local rules). An FCC Form 500 must then be filed to notify USAC of the extended contract expiration date.

In addition, be sure to check your FRNs – if an extension was granted for the delivery and installation of non-recurring services in previous funding years, the deadline for receipt of those services may also be September 30, 2012.

Finally, if September 30, 2012 is the last day to receive non-recurring services, then January 28, 2013 is the last day to invoice USAC for those services.

For more information about the deadline for the receipt of non-recurring services – as well as any related extensions – please contact the Troy Law Group (www.troylawgroup.com).

RECENT E-RATE APPEALS

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Sep 192012
 

Applicants and service providers alike should take note of the following FCC decisions on E-Rate appeals. A must-read!

1. Assumption-All Saints School, et al. (DA 12-1323). Found that, by listing an email address affiliated with the applicants’ service provider (Future Generation) as the preferred method of contact on their Forms 470, applicants violated the Commission’s competitive bidding requirements. Future Generation was the current service provider for each applicant and the ultimate winner in the competitive bidding process. The Commission held that, consistent with past decisions, listing a service provider as the contact person on a Form 470 and allowing that service provider to participate in the competitive bidding process taints the competitive bidding process.

2. Ed Tech Solutions LLC (DA 12-1328). Concluded that Ed Tech’s contracts properly allowed payments to be made in installments after the work was completed. In doing so, the FCC found persuasive that the contracts at issue were entered into before the Commission set time limits on deferred payments for the non-discounted portion of payments for services. Also weighing in Ed Tech’s favor was the fact that all the contracts provided a specific time table for payment (25% upon project completion and 25% every three months until the balance was paid). The FCC went on to find (contrary to USAC’s assertions) that, in and of themselves, the Form 473 certifications do not require service providers to seek payment from USAC at the approximate time it receives reimbursement from the E-Rate applicant. In addition (and also contrary to USAC’s claims), the deferred payment plans at issue did not violate the necessary resources requirement, as the applicants had a reasonable expectation of being able to pay Ed Tech for the non-discounted portion when those funds became due under the contract. Finally, the FCC concluded that neither its rules nor USAC’s procedures required an applicant to pay the service provider the discounted portion during the funding year.

3. Truth or Consequences Municipal Schools et al. (DA 12-1361). Held that applicant violated the competitive bidding requirements by failing to evaluate all bids received. The FCC found decisive that the bid evaluation worksheets were dated more than a month after the relevant contract had been signed.

4. Iowa Department of Education et al. (DA 12-788). Found that, despite an earlier FCC decision approving E-Rate discounts on Iowa Communications Network’s (ICN’s) services on a “prospective basis,” applicants were entitled to discounts in previous funding years. In December 2000, the FCC had determined, on remand from the DC Circuit, that ICN was a “telecommunications carrier” eligible to receive E-Rate discounts on a “prospective basis” (i.e., Funding Years 2001 and later). At issue were pending applications for services provided by ICN in Funding Years 1998, 1999, and 2000. The FCC concluded that the “prospective” language was not intended to preclude retroactive application of the decision, reasoning that (a) the Commission had not considered the fact that applications were pending for prior funding years when it issued its 2000 decision, and, importantly, (b) ICN was a “telecommunications carrier” when the applicants at issue requested E-Rate support.

For more information about these decisions or other E-Rate topics, please contact the Troy Law Group (www.troylawgroup.com).

USAC MAY BE CALLING

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Sep 112012
 

Attention everyone – USAC’s summer deferral period for application review and problem resolution ended last Friday (September 7). If USAC stopped processing or reviewing your funding request because it was unable to reach you during the summer, be prepared to answer USAC’s questions when they resume attempts to contact you. (This year, USAC’s summer deferral period ran from May 25 to September 7, 2012.)

USAC generally requests additional information in the following two situations: (1) USAC needs to resolve a problem, such as missing or inconsistent information in a program form; or (2) USAC needs more information to review an application and initiates a Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) review.

USAC initially utilizes an applicant’s or service provider’s preferred mode of contact to ask questions or request additional information. If USAC does not hear back within 7 days, it will attempt to make contact again, and also will inform the state E-Rate coordinator that it is trying to contact you. If USAC still has not heard from you within 15 days after the first attempt to contact you, it will use the information available to complete the processing of your application – in other words, incomplete paper forms may be returned or funding requests may be reduced or denied.

Remember, though, if USAC’s first attempt to contact you was after May 25, 2012 (the beginning of the summer deferral period) and it could not confirm that you were available to respond to questions, USAC will resume its efforts to contact you starting September 10. However, if USAC made contact with you before May 25, the 15-day response clock started and USAC may have acted on the information available if you did not respond within 15 days. (If your application is still under review, you always can ask for more time to respond if you are unable to meet the 15-day response deadline.)

For more information about communications with USAC or other E-Rate topics, please contact the Troy Law Group (www.troylawgroup.com).