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July 21, 2022

E-RATE TIPS:
 
•  The FCC Form 470 for Funding Year (FY) 2023 is now available in the E-Rate Productivity Center (EPC). Applicants with long procurement cycles or applicants that have other reasons for starting their FY2023 competitive bidding processes well in advance of the funding year, can now complete and certify this form.

•  Competitive Bidding/FCC Form 470 Overview and Office Hour Webinar in August. USAC will hold a Competitive Bidding/FCC Form 470 office hour webinar in August. E-Rate experts will walk you through competitive bidding and the FCC Form 470. Go to the E-Rate Webinars page for details and registration information coming soon.

•  Be sure to store the documentation you used to support your FY2022 FCC Form 471 funding requests, even if the review of your application has been completed. You must retain program documentation for at least 10 years after the latter of the last day of the applicable funding year or the service delivery deadline for the funding request.

•  Visit recently updated web content on Document Retention and Urban/Rural Status.

Commitments for Funding Year (FY) 2022 and FY2021

FY2022. USAC released FY2022 Wave 13 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) on July 14. As of July 20, FY2022 commitments total over $2.05 billion.

FY2021. USAC released FY2021 Wave 58 FCDLs on June 29. As of July 20, FY2021 commitments total over $2.67 billion.

On the date that FCDLs are issued, you can access your FCDL notification from the Notifications section of your landing page in the E-Rate Productivity Center (EPC).

Service Provider Reminder: File Your FY2022 SPAC Form

The FCC Form 473, or Service Provider Annual Certification (SPAC) Form, must be filed each year by service providers that participate in the E-Rate Program. This form must be certified and on file with USAC for each funding year before USAC can pay any invoices – the FCC Form 472, Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) Form or the FCC Form 474, Service Provider Invoice (SPI) Form – for that funding year.

  • Service providers that have more than one Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN) must file a SPAC Form for each SPIN.
  • Applicants can only include Funding Request Numbers (FRNs) for one funding year on a single BEAR Form but service providers can include FRNs from multiple funding years on a single SPI Form.
  • It is never too late to file a SPAC Form. If USAC issues an FCDL for an earlier funding year for which a SPAC Form is missing, the service provider can file a SPAC Form for that funding year now.

How to file your SPAC Form
USAC has added FY2022 as an option to the online SPAC Form. To complete and certify your SPAC Form, log in to the E-File System.

  • If you have multiple SPINs, you must choose one of them ("set your SPIN") from the list of your SPINs.
  • After you set your SPIN, you will see SPAC Form as an option in the left-hand menu.
  • The form will pre-populate much of the information required based on your identity as a user.
  • If you notice that the contact information in your E-File System profile (not your EPC profile) does not populate correctly, you can exit the FCC Form 473, correct your E-File profile information, and then re-enter your form. If you need help with correcting your E-File profile, contact us as described below.
  • The dropdown in the form that lists funding years will only show funding years for which a SPAC Form has not yet been filed, making your choice(s) easier.
  • Immediately after the SPAC Form is certified for any funding year – including FY2022 – the appropriate funding year will appear in the Service Provider Download Tool.

Refer to the FCC Form 473 User Guide for step-by-step instructions for filing the FCC Form 473.

  • For instructions on resetting your E-File password or help with filing your FCC Form 473, you can open a customer service case in EPC or call the Customer Service Center (CSC) at (888) 203-8100.
  • If you are locked out of E-File or are otherwise having trouble logging in, you can call USAC Customer Support at (888) 641-8722 and choose option 4 (contributors) or Contact Us online.

Before you start invoicing for FY2022 services, check to make sure that the service provider has certified an FCC Form 473 (SPAC Form) and the applicant has certified an FCC Form 486. The E-Rate FRN Status Tool FY2016+ shows the status of the SPAC Form and service start dates for certified and approved FCC Forms 486.

To verify that a certified SPAC Form has been filed by your service provider, filter by SPIN and select FY2022 as the funding year. When the data updates, look in the SPAC Filed column to see if the SPAC Form has been certified.

Key Invoicing Reminders from the July Training

Below are some invoicing reminders from today’s (July 21) E-Rate Invoicing Process: Office Hour Webinar.

  • Payments
    • For Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) invoicing, the applicant must have paid the service provider in full before invoicing E-Rate.
    • For Service Provider (SPI) invoicing, the applicant pays the service provider their non-discounted portion.
  • Be sure to invoice USAC only for your FCC Form 471 approved, eligible equipment and services, in the correct quantities and rates, and delivered only to the approved Recipients of Service.
  • Ensure the upload/download speed is properly listed for the approved FRN. If you are using a flexible bandwidth speed, ensure you are using the min/max field on the FCC Form 471. 
  • Invoiced amounts must be for actual charges, not the amount committed through the E-Rate program. 
  • Billed rates must not exceed the contracted rates. USAC will only pay up to the contracted rates. 
  • Remove ineligible items (equipment and services not approved on FCC Form 471).
  • Respond to all outreach completely and timely to expedite your payment.
  • To prevent duplicate invoice submission, establish a process to track/identify each invoice.
  • Responding to a certification outreach request is the applicant’s task. The service provider is added only for their awareness. 

To get more invoicing tips and information, view the E-Rate Invoicing Process: Office Hour webinar recording on the E-Rate Webinars page.

FY2023 FCC Form 470 Reminders

The FY2023 Competitive Bidding form (FCC Form 470) became available in EPC on July 1. Here are a few reminders about the FCC Form 470 if you are ready to open your competitive bidding process for FY2023. FY2023 covers services received from July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2024.

You must file the FCC Form 470 in EPC.
To start an FCC Form 470, you must have a One Portal username and password to access EPC. Your EPC account administrator can set up an EPC user account for you if you do not already have one, and our system will then create a One Portal account for you. After your accounts are set up, you can log in to One Portal, choose EPC from your dashboard, and click the FCC Form 470 link at the top of your EPC landing page to start an FCC Form 470.

Your organization's profile must be established in EPC before you can file a program form, including an FCC Form 470.
If you are new to the E-Rate program and looking to establish your entity, go to the School and Library Eligibility page or the E-Rate Checklist for Tribal Libraries page to learn how to establish your entity. Your billed entity information (including address, contact information and attributes for the schools in a school district or libraries in a library system) is pulled into program forms from your organization's profile in EPC.

You do not need to update your student counts (schools) or square footage (libraries) before filing the FCC Form 470. However, the system will count the number of recipients of service based on your current organization profile in EPC. If you cannot update your organization's profile information in EPC to reflect added or removed individual schools, library branches, or consortium members, you can provide updated information in the narrative fields in your FCC Form 470 and in the document(s) you attach to your form (see below).

If you issue a request for proposal (RFP) and/or RFP documents, you must upload these documents to your FCC Form 470.
If you are issuing an RFP and/or one or more RFP documents, you are required to upload those documents to your FCC Form 470. We use "RFP" and "RFP document" generically to refer to any bidding document that describes your project and requested services in more detail than that provided on the FCC Form 470.

An RFP document can be a formal bidding document – for example, an invitation for bid (IFB) or request for quote (RFQ) – or it could be any document issued as part of your competitive bidding process to provide more information to potential bidders. The actual RFP itself (along with all subsequent addenda) must be made publicly available through USAC's website by uploading the RFP to your FCC Form 470 in EPC.

In addition, if you issue RFP documents AFTER you certify an FCC Form 470, you MUST upload them to that certified FCC Form 470. Note that if you did not add an RFP document to your original form before it was certified, you cannot add an RFP document later. Instead, you must attach the document to a new FCC Form 470 and then certify that form.

Certify the form online in EPC.
The FCC Form 470 is posted to tools on the USAC website after it has been certified in EPC (see below).

If the user who creates the form does not have the necessary rights (permissions) to certify it, EPC will create a task for users within the organization who do.

  • Users with partial rights to the FCC Form 470 can complete the form but cannot certify the form.
  • Users with full rights to the FCC Form 470 can complete, edit, and certify the form in EPC.

Your receipt notification will appear in your EPC News feed shortly after you certify your form. Your FCC Form 470 Receipt Notification Letter (RNL) that confirms your certification will appear in the News tab in your EPC account shortly after you certify your form. You can submit requests to correct certain errors through EPC by clicking Related Actions at the top of the form.

You can also access your RNL by navigating to your FCC Form 470 in EPC and clicking the News option from the menu near the top of the page (NOT the blue News tab). In this way, you will only see news items that apply to this form.

Service providers can view filed FCC Forms 470 either through EPC or on the USAC website.
EPC has a search and download function that will allow service providers with accounts in EPC to search for certified FCC Forms 470. You can download the form data from the search results as a set of CSV (comma separated value) files.

Service providers can also view a PDF version of a single form along with all of its attached RFP documents in the View an FCC Form 470 tool, and detailed information for multiple forms in the Download FCC Form 470 Information tool. You can find both of these tools on the E-Rate Tools page on the USAC website.

The June 2022 E-Rate News Brief provides links to resources to help you submit and certify an FCC Form 470.

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