July 11, 2014

TIP OF THE WEEK: If USAC has confirmed your registration for a training session this fall, you must also make a hotel reservation if you want to reserve a room at the conference hotel. To do so, follow the link on the Trainings & Outreach page for the training session you are attending to access the reservation information for the associated conference hotel.

Commitments for Funding Years 2014 and 2013

Funding Year 2014. USAC released Funding Year (FY) 2014 Wave 9 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) on July 10 and will release Wave 10 FCDLs on July 16. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 1 (Telecommunications Services and Internet Access) requests at all discount levels. As of July 11, FY2014 commitments total over $1.48 billion.

Funding Year 2013. USAC will release FY2013 Wave 57 FCDLs on July 17. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 1 requests at all discount levels. As of July 11, FY2013 commitments total just under $2.08 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.

FCC Adopts Landmark Modernization Order

The Federal Communications Commission adopted a Modernization Order that will expand Wi-Fi networks in schools and libraries across America. The new rules are the next major step in a comprehensive modernization of the E-rate Program, the first such effort since the program’s creation 18 years ago. The program increases focus on the largest and most urgent need—closing the Wi-Fi gap—while transitioning support away from legacy technologies to 21st Century broadband connectivity, ensuring E-rate Program money is spent smartly, and improving program administration. The reform will expand Wi-Fi to more than 10 million students in 2015 alone. 

 For more information, read the FCC's press release, or read the FCC's quick fact sheet.


USAC decisions can be appealed by program participants affected by those decisions. Appeals must be received or postmarked within 60 days of the date of the decision.

Most USAC decisions are communicated in letters. In general, the letters containing these decisions also include information on how to file an appeal. In some cases — notably SPIN changes and service provider electronic notifications — decisions may be communicated by email and may lack this information. However, guidance on how to file an appeal is available on the USAC website.

If you are writing an appeal, you should clearly identify yourself and the reason(s) for your appeal, and include the specific information that will help USAC understand why you believe the original decision should be reviewed. Here are some tips to assist you with your preparations:

Mark your submission as an appeal. The word "appeal" should appear on the first page of a written appeal, the cover sheet of an appeal submitted by fax, or the subject line of an appeal submitted by email or online. This will allow your appeal to be correctly identified and processed.

Identify yourself. The contact information you provide on your appeal will be the information we use to ask questions or to clarify information. If your contact information has changed since your original submission (program form, extension request, etc.), please make a note of that as well.

The following information is helpful to include on the first page or cover sheet of the appeal:

  • The entity name and Billed Entity Number (BEN) of the applicant including an address and telephone number.
  • The name, address, telephone number, fax number, and email address of the contact person who understands and can discuss the appeal.
  • If the contact person is not an employee of the Billed Entity, the relationship of the contact person to the Billed Entity (consultant, consortium member, etc.).
  • If an alternate contact person also understands and can discuss the appeal, that person’s name and contact information.

You should monitor the email, fax, and/or telephone contact that you provide. If we attempt to contact you and do not receive a response, we may have to proceed with the information on hand and without the benefit of your responses to our questions.

Specify the USAC decision you are appealing. Start with the title and date on the communication that contains USAC’s decision. In general, letters from USAC feature a title in capital letters at the top of the first page. Then specify the particular decision from that communication that you are appealing, for example: a denial of one Funding Request Number (FRN) from an FCC Form 471, a rejection of a service substitution request, or the removal of an entity from an FCC Form 471 Block 4 worksheet. In addition, always include the following:

  • A list of all affected FRNs.
  • A list of all affected FCC Form 471 application numbers.
  • A list of any other specific program forms or requests involved, identified by form number, applicant form identifier, or other numbers assigned to the form or request by you or by USAC.

Address all of the issues USAC identified if you are appealing a funding decision. As part of Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) review, USAC reviews FCC Forms 471 in their entirety rather than stopping with the first denial reason. If your funding request was reduced, the comment field for each FRN in the FCDL contains additional information on the specific products or services that were removed. Also, if your funding request was denied for more than one reason, all of the reasons will be included in the comment field for that FRN.

  • Each denial reason in the comment field is separated by five sets of angle brackets (<><><><><>).
  • If you are appealing a denial or reduction, be sure your appeal addresses all of the reasons contained in the comment field. This will speed up the processing of your appeal.

State briefly but precisely why you feel the USAC decision is incorrect. Explain why you believe USAC reached the wrong conclusion in its decision. If the decision relates to a program rule or an FCC order, cite the rule or the order and the specific language that supports your argument.

Note any other information that should be reviewed. You have already included in your appeal the relevant form number, applicant form identifier, FRN, and any other identifying information. This will assist us to quickly locate the materials related to the application(s) or request(s) that should be reviewed in order to process your appeal. However, your appeal may rest on our understanding of other materials submitted with your application or that relate to your application. You can provide copies of the relevant information or note where we should look to locate the information, such as an attachment to a previous year’s form.

Retain all documentation. Current program rules require that all documentation related to an application be retained for five years after the last date to receive service. Some of the questions that we may ask while reviewing an appeal can be answered by documentation that you have retained. If we need to review that documentation and you can easily produce it, your appeal can proceed much more smoothly.

Note on waivers

You can request that an FCC policy, rule, or deadline – for example, the FCC Form 471 application filing window deadline – be waived. Waiver requests must be filed with the FCC; USAC cannot waive program rules. In your waiver request, be sure to explain why you were unable to comply with the relevant program policy, rule, or deadline and why you are requesting a waiver.

Filing information

You can file an appeal with USAC by email, through Submit a Question (choose "Appeals" from the Topic Inquiry menu and "I want to file an appeal" from the Specific Inquiry menu), or by mail.

The mailing address for appeals to USAC is:

Letter of Appeal
Schools and Libraries Division - Correspondence Unit
30 Lanidex Plaza West
PO Box 685
Parsippany, NJ 07054-0685

You can file a waiver request with the FCC through the Electronic Comment Filing System (enter "02-6" as the Proceeding Number and choose "WAIVER" for the Type of Filing) or by mail.

The mailing address for waiver requests to the FCC is:

Federal Communications Commission
Office of the Secretary
445 12th Street SW
Washington, DC 20554

You can refer to the Appeals Procedure and the Appeal Guidelines for more information on filing an appeal.

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