April 1, 2016

TIP OF THE WEEK: Before you start your FCC Form 471, check the entity information in your EPC profile to make sure your list of entities (individual schools for school districts, library branches for library systems, consortium members for consortia) is correct and complete. If it is not, ask the Client Service Bureau to help you with any necessary updates.

Commitments for Funding Year 2015

Funding Year 2015. USAC will release Funding Year (FY) 2015 Wave 44 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) on April 7. This wave includes commitments for approved requests for all service types and at all discount levels. As of April 1, FY2015 commitments total over $3.19 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.

Preparing to File FCC Form 471

For applicants who have not yet started an FCC Form 471, we are providing the following reminders about the materials and other information they will need to prepare and file this form.

Get ready to file and certify the FCC Form 471 in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC). All of the information required on the form must be entered in your EPC profile or entered on the form – including the funding request information that could previously be submitted as an attachment separately from the form.

If you do not have an EPC account for your organization and a user account for your account administrator, call the Client Service Bureau (CSB) at (888) 203-8100 for assistance.

Review the FY2016 Eligible Services List. There are some changes from last year, especially in the realm of requests for fiber. Also, note specifically that Voice Services will be filed on a separate funding request and are subject to a phase down of 40 percentage points for FY2016.

The FY2016 Eligible Services List (note that the Order releasing the list precedes the list itself) is posted on the Eligible Services List archive page.

File early. Applicants will need to allow plenty of time for completing and reviewing the information they provide in their FCC Forms 471. Note specifically that information on the costs and types of products and services requested must be entered directly into the FCC Form 471 and cannot be submitted separately from the form.

Because the application filing window closes April 29, 2016, TODAY (April 1) is the last day to submit an FCC Form 470, because you must wait at least 28 days after your FCC Form 470 is posted to the USAC website before you select your service provider, sign a contract (for contracted services), and sign and submit an FCC Form 471. If you issue an RFP after you post your FCC Form 470, you must wait at least 28 days after the RFP is publicly available.

Obtain the identification numbers you will need to file the FCC Form 471. The following numbers are necessary to complete the filing of online forms:

  • Billed Entity Number (BEN). The entity filing the form – that is, the Billed Entity, the entity that pays the bills – needs a BEN. If you do not already have a BEN, you can contact CSB to obtain one.
  • FCC Registration Number (FCC RN). Entities doing business with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – in this case, the Billed Entities – need FCC Registration Numbers. If you do not have one, you can obtain one by going to the FCC's CORES website. Note that the individual schools in a school district and the library branches in a library system do not need FCC RNs.
  • Consultant Registration Number (CRN). If you are using a consultant – a non-employee of the entity applying for funding that assists in filling out the application materials for a fee – you provide that consultant's CRN on the FCC Form 470 and/or 471. CRNs can be obtained from CSB.
  • Entity numbers. Each recipient of service – including non-instructional facilities – must have an entity number. Again, these numbers can be obtained from CSB.
  • Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN). Each service provider you list on an FCC Form 471 funding request must have a SPIN. Service providers must file an FCC Form 498 to obtain this number.

Enter required information in your entity profile in EPC. You will need the following created or updated in your profile:

  • Complete information for each individual school in the school district or each library branch in the library system. For schools, this includes urban/rural status and student counts. For libraries, this includes urban rural/status, square footage, and identifying the library main branch and the school district in which that main branch is located.
  • A contract record for each contract you want to cite on an FCC Form 471 funding request.
  • For independent schools, independent libraries, school districts, and library systems, the answers to the connectivity questions for each of your entities.

Collect the documents you will need to complete your form. In addition to the information listed above, you will also need information about your services and associated costs; manufactures, makes, and model numbers; numbers of lines and/or connections; and other details about your services.

Again, if you need additional assistance, you can contact CSB. 

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