March 21, 2014


Days to window close


FCC Forms 471 filed to date


Online Item 21 attachments filed to date



TIP OF THE WEEK: If you have waited until the last minute to file your FCC Form 471, review the questions and answers below. Remember that you can also contact the Client Service Bureau to request entity numbers, update entity information, obtain Consultant Registration Numbers, and request other assistance.

Commitments for Funding Year 2013

Funding Year 2013. USAC will release Funding Year (FY) 2013 Wave 44 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) March 26. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 1 (Telecommunications Services and Internet Access) requests at all discount levels. As of March 21, FY2013 commitments total over $1.99 billion.

Funding Year 2012. USAC will release FY2012 Wave 81 FCDLs March 27. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 2 (Internal Connections and Basic Maintenance) requests at 90 percent and denials at 89 percent and below. As of March 21, FY2012 commitments total just under $2.86 billion.

On the day the FCDLs are mailed, you can check to see if you have a commitment by using USAC's Automated Search of Commitments tool.

Questions and Answers for Last-Minute Filers

The Client Service Bureau (CSB) has provided us with a list of the questions most commonly asked during the last week of the filing window. Those questions – and their answers – appear below.

You should always do these three things:

  1. Before you start, gather the documents you will need to file your form. These can include copies of contracts or bills, National School Lunch Program (NSLP) data, lists of eligible entities receiving services, and so on.
  2. After you finish Block 1, print a copy of the page that contains your FCC Form 471 application number and security code. You will need these numbers if you do not complete your online form in one session, if you want to certify your form online, or if you want to file your Item 21 attachment online after you submit your form.
  3. Check and recheck your work. You can view or print a copy of your form before you submit it by using the Print Preview function. You can also view your Item 21 attachment. It is much easier and quicker to file a correct submission now than it is to correct it later.

Can I file Priority 1 and Priority 2 requests on the same application?

Filing Priority 1 and Priority 2 requests on the same FCC Form 471 will cause a significant delay in the issuance of your funding decisions for the funding requests on that form.

USAC's system does not allow us to issue commitments if part of the application has not yet been reviewed. Because we are able to start funding Priority 1 applications first – and because it may take some time before we can start issuing Priority 2 commitments – FCDLs for applications that feature requests in both priorities cannot be issued until the review of the Priority 2 requests has been completed.

What should I do if I have problems with the online system?

For general problems with the online system, you should review the Tips and Troubleshooting guidance on USAC's website. You can also call CSB at 1 (888) 203-8100 for assistance.

The most common problems can be solved by:

  • Using Internet Explorer version 6.0 or higher rather than other browsers.
  • Continuing your form using the expert version (click the "Continue Incomplete" button in the FCC Form 471 column on the Apply Online page) if you are having trouble with the interview version.
  • Closing your browser, clearing your cache and temporary Internet files, and continuing your incomplete form.

I am using Internet Explorer as you suggested – why am I having problems?

The newer versions of Internet Explorer contain features that were not anticipated when our system was originally designed. If you are seeing popups or other features you have not seen before or that do not make sense, you can engage the compatibility mode on your newer version of this browser. You can do this by clicking the compatibility mode icon to the right of the address bar.

I am getting an error message I don't understand. What should I do?

Error messages that do not contain a clear explanation of your problem usually occur because you have timed out of the system. This is most likely due to one of the following:

  • Fifteen minutes have elapsed since the last time you performed an action that saved information to our database – for example, if you are called away from your computer, or if you are entering a large amount of information that is not saved until you move to the next webpage (e.g., adding many entities to a single Block 4 worksheet).
  • The system exceeds its allowable number of simultaneous users – for example, if you are in the middle of entering a Block 5 funding request and another user starts a form before you finish Item 24 and your data is written to the database.

If this occurs, close your browser, clear your cache and temporary Internet files, click "Continue Incomplete" in the FCC Form 471 column on the Apply Online page, enter your FCC Form 471 application number and security code, and continue your form.

If you are called away from your computer or if you have a large amount of data to enter, you can use the "Save & Exit" button at the top of most pages of the online form to save the information you have entered to that point. If you click this button, the system will display your FCC Form 471 application number and security code as a reminder. Print or save this page or write down these numbers if you have not already done so – you cannot retrieve your security code after you exit the form.

When you are ready to resume your work, you can click the "Continue Incomplete" button to return to your form.

I am filing as a library. Why do I have to find my library entity number twice in Block 4?

You don't. The two search screens you use are similar in appearance but perform different functions.

First, you search for your library entity using this screen:

Then, because your discount is calculated by using the NSLP eligibility numbers from the public school district in which the library is physically located, you search for that school district using this screen:

Why do libraries enter student numbers in Block 4?

To calculate the discount for a library, you (1) divide the total number of students eligible for NSLP in the public school district in which the library is physically located by the total number of students in that district and then (2) carry that percentage into the Discount Matrix to find your discount. Libraries can obtain these numbers from that school district, a state website, or other official source and then enter them in the appropriate fields in the online form.

I want to refer to the FCC Form 471 I filed last year when I file for this year. What is the best way to do this?

First, open a browser window and access last year's form. Then choose "New Session" from the "File" menu, and start this year's form in the second window that opens. You can then either toggle between the two browser windows or – if you have two monitors – view one form on each monitor. We strongly advise against opening two tabs in the same browser window, as this may cause problems.

How do I file an Item 21 attachment?

We suggest that you file online. You can enter the online Item 21 attachment system directly from the last page of the online FCC Form 471, or you can click the "Item 21 Attachment" button on the Apply Online page and enter your Billed Entity Number, FCC Form 471 application number, and security code.

For a description of what to include in your Item 21 attachment and for other filing options, refer to the Item 21 Attachments document on the USAC website and the February 27 Special Edition News Brief.

My service provider has applied for a SPIN but doesn't have it yet. How do I complete my Block 5 funding request?

To complete your form online now, you can use the Interim SPIN 143666666. We will then ask you for the correct SPIN during the review of your application.

How can I correct an error I made on my online form?

Before you submit your form, use the Print Preview function to view the information you have provided. Carefully review this information. If you find incorrect entries, return to the appropriate fields on your form and correct them.

If you have already submitted your form, follow the instructions on your Receipt Acknowledgment Letter (RAL) to make corrections. You can also submit corrections during the review of your application.

I filed on paper. Why am I getting calls about the information I provided?

When we enter the information from a paper form, we use the same process that an online filer uses to enter the information on an online form, and we encounter the same error messages. We cannot complete data entry if information is missing or inconsistent, and we must ask you to provide it.

For FY2014, the most common error we find is missing Item 24 pages. If you are filing more than one funding request, you must complete an Item 24 page for EACH request.

What if I am still having problems?

Contact CSB toll-free by phone at 1 (888) 203-8100, using Submit a Question, or toll-free by fax at 1 (888) 276-8736. As a reminder, here are CSB's extended hours for the last few days of the window:

Date Hours
Saturday, March 22 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM EDT
Sunday, March 23 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM EDT
Monday, March 24 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM EDT
Tuesday, March 25 8:00 AM - 10:00 PM EDT
Wednesday, March 26 8:00 AM - 11:59 PM EDT



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