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August 18, 2022

E-RATE TIPS:
 
•  FCC Form 470 and Competitive Bidding Webinar. USAC will host an FCC Form 470/Competitive Bidding webinar on August 25 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EDT. Learn about the competitive bidding process. Register here.

•  The E-Rate Invoicing Process: Office Hour Webinar was held July 21, 2022. The webinar provides information about the FCC Form 472 (BEAR Form) and the FCC Form 474 (SPI Form), invoice filing deadlines, and the invoicing review process. View the recording. View the webinar slides.

•  Review the information below if you are an applicant that intends to invoice USAC by filing a BEAR Form (FCC Form 472) and have not yet certified an applicant FCC Form 498. Remember that you need to recertify your form if you have made any changes, such as updating your banking information.

JULY CORRECTION: The 7/21/2022 E-Rate News Brief article "Key Invoicing Reminders from the July Training" incorrectly included a bullet that cited the wrong form ("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.").  We have removed the sentence referencing the FCC Form 471.  We apologize for any confusion.

Commitments for Funding Year (FY) 2022 and FY2021

FY2022. USAC released FY2022 Wave 17 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) on August 11. As of August 17, FY2022 commitments total over $2.28 billion.

FY2021. USAC released FY2021 Wave 61 FCDLs on August 10. As of August 17, 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).

Requesting Service Delivery Deadline Extensions for FY2021 Non-Recurring Services (Other than Special Construction)

The deadline for delivery and installation of non-recurring services (e.g., installations, equipment purchases) is September 30 following the close of the funding year. For FY2021, the deadline for non-recurring services (other than special construction) is Friday, September 30, 2022.

This service delivery deadline (SDD) can be extended for up to one year under certain circumstances, through an extension request. In some cases, the extension will be automatically made based on the Funding Commitment Decision Letter (FCDL) date or the revised FCDL (RFCDL) date.

Requesting extensions
Service providers who are (1) unable to meet their service delivery deadline for reasons beyond their control such as supply chain delays, or are (2) unwilling to complete delivery and installation because USAC withheld invoice payments on the services for more than 60 days can ask the affected applicants to request a one-year extension, which must be approved by USAC.

Applicants can request the one-year extension by completing and certifying an FCC Form 500, Funding Commitment Adjustment Request Form, on or before September 30, 2022 for FY2021 non-recurring services. Extending a service delivery deadline for a Funding Request Number (FRN) to September 30, 2023 automatically extends the invoice deadline for that FRN to January 28, 2024. You should not submit an invoice deadline date (IDD) extension request for an extended FRN when submitting an SDD extension request. If you do submit an IDD extension request at the same time, it will count towards your one-time invoicing extension, and you will not be able to request a second IDD extension request in the future if you need it.

If, as a service provider, you are aware of the need to request an SDD extension, work with your customer (the applicant) to get the FCC Form 500 completed and certified no later than September 30, 2022.

Automatic extensions
If USAC issues an FY2021 FCDL on or after March 1, 2022, the SDD is automatically extended for one year to September 30, 2023. This also applies to RFCDLs issued on or after March 1, 2022 for one of the following:

  • approval of an appeal for a funding request that originally denied or reduced funding,
  • approval of a Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN) change, or
  • approval of a service substitution.

The FCDL or RFCDL contains the extended SDD date when it is issued. You can also find the SDD by searching for the FRN using the E-Rate FRN Status Tool FY2016+.

Summer Deferral Period for FY2022 PIA Review ends September 9

During the summer contact period, Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) will put the review of your application on hold if we cannot make a live contact by telephone with the contact person or someone else who has been designated to respond to our questions. You also have the option to request a summer deferral before September 9 if you know you will not be available to answer PIA questions and you cannot designate someone to answer questions on your behalf.

Our summer contact period is defined as the Friday before Memorial Day through the Friday after Labor Day. For 2022, the summer deferral contact period began May 27. The summer deferral contact period will end Friday, September 9.

If your application currently shows a summer deferral status in EPC but you are available to answer questions and want to restart your application review, simply contact your reviewer using the contact information featured on your PIA questions in EPC. You can also call the Customer Service Center (CSC) at 888-203-8100 for assistance if you cannot find your reviewer's contact information.

BEAR and SPI Form Reminders for Date Fields

Some applicants and service providers have experienced automatic denials or manual reviews where they have entered incorrect dates on their invoices (FCC Form 472, BEAR Form and FCC Form 474, SPI Form) for specific Funding Request Number (FRN) line items. This includes FRN invoice line items for both recurring and non-recurring services. We are providing the reminders below to assist program participants with correctly entering dates on invoice forms.

On both BEAR and SPI Forms, the Customer Billed Date field is for recurring services and the Shipping Date to Customer is for non-recurring services. A single FRN line item should have a date in one field or the other, but not both fields.

The date in the Customer Billed Date field for each line item should be the date of the customer bill, that is, the date of the bill sent by the service provider to the applicant. The customer bill will either be for the full cost of the service (if the applicant is filing BEAR Forms) or for the applicant's share of the cost (if the service provider is filing SPI Forms). In all cases, this date should be the first date of service for that line item. For example:

  • An applicant wants to enter three line items on a BEAR Form, one for each month of recurring services in the first quarter of the funding year (i.e., July, August, and September). The applicant should put the date of the customer bill they received from the service provider for July on the first line item, the date of the bill for August on the second line item, and the date of the bill for September on the third line item.
  • Similarly, a service provider wants to enter three line items on a SPI Form, one for each month of recurring services in the first quarter of the funding year. The service provider should put the date of the customer bill they sent to the applicant for July on the first line item, the date of the bill for August on the second line item, and the date of the bill for September on the third line item.

If you enter the first day of the funding year for all three line items instead of the date of the actual customer bill for each line item, the second and third line items will either be automatically denied or flagged for manual review, and the processing of your BEAR or SPI form may be delayed.

Filing the Applicant Version of the FCC Form 498

Applicants who request reimbursements directly from USAC by submitting an FCC Form 472 (the Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) Form), must first certify an FCC Form 498 (the Service Provider and Billed Entity Identification Number and General Contact Information Form). USAC must review and approve your FCC Form 498 before you can receive your 498 ID, the identifying number that will appear at the top of your BEAR Form after you log in to the E-Rate Productivity Center (EPC).

You do not have to re-file an FCC Form 498 if you already have an approved form. Be sure, however, to review and update your form if any of your information has changed.

If you are filing the FCC Form 498 for the first time, be sure you have provided the required banking information and documentation with your FCC Form 498.

Bank account information for direct payments
To identify the bank account where you want USAC to send your direct payments, you will be asked to provide your bank's name, your bank's routing number, and your account number at the bank. The bank account information provided on the form cannot be for a bank account owned by a consultant.

After you certify your form for the first time – or you update your additional BENs and/or your bank account information on your existing form – USAC must review your form.

We will ask you for proof of your bank account information, such as a bank statement or canceled check. Once USAC has verified and approved your documentation, your form status will change from "Certified" to "Approved" and your 498 ID will show up at the top of your BEAR Form after you log in to EPC.

A common mistake made by first-time filers is not submitting the supporting documentation. You do not have to wait for us to notify you to upload the documentation. You can upload your bank account documentation to our secure server immediately after you certify your form.

Finally, to check the status of your form, you can use the FCC Form 498 Status Tool located on the E-Rate Tools page on the USAC website.

The Obtain an Applicant 498 ID page has more information on submitting and certifying the FCC Form 498.

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