FCC Form 486 Changes, Impacts on School Funding

A key note to remember is that on October 20, 2016, the FCC released an Order in which starting January 30, 2017, the FCC will be less forgiving in granting Form 486 deadline waivers than in the past. i-SAFE’s compliance programming offers you a cost-effective compliance solution that exceeds regulatory requirements.

When you process Form 486, you are certifying that your school(s) and/or district(s) is CIPA compliant, services have started, and that the services are covered on an approved technology plan. The filing of Form 486 has a deadline requirement. It is important that you make sure it is submitted 120 days from when you receive a Funding Decision Commitment Letter or 120 days from when services start, whichever is later. Unfortunately, if the Form 486 is not submitted on time, the E-Rate funds can be reduced or even denied—which happens all too often. In recent years, the FCC has granted waivers when the Form 486 deadline was missed. Now the FCC has reversed their policy and will only grant Form 486 deadline waivers under the following conditions:

  1. Applicants sought an extension of the FCC Form 486 deadline no more than 120 days after the last day to receive the E-Rate supported service at issue;
  2. Applicants demonstrated good cause justifying the late submission of the FCC Forms 486.

It can be easy to miss this important deadline. Now, more than ever, it is important to be vigilant with any deadline associated with participating in the E-Rate program.

There has been more than $10 billion of total value committed as part of the five-year program to transform American education. This includes Federal Communications Commission (FCC) funding for school and library connectivity with $2 billion specifically for Wi-Fi, and $1.5 billion more in annual funding, and more than $2 billion in private-sector commitments. These commitments will dramatically expand high-speed Internet connectivity for America's schools and libraries — connecting 20 million more students to next-generation broadband and wireless.

High-speed internet access is vital for our country to grow in education, innovation, and creativity. Moreover, school district administrators recognize that it is absolutely critical that we, as a society, ensure dependable and expeditious internet access so that ALL students (regardless of their geography, race, and socioeconomic status) can acquire the fundamental skills necessary to compete in today’s technological 21st-century workforce. This perspective is shared at the governmental level as well. We have seen, time and time again, that legislators are consistently instituting legislative requirements in order to ensure that ALL students not only have access to the internet but that State DOE and school district policies and practices protect student privacy as indicated in the provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).