September 2, 2016

TIP OF THE WEEK: Applicants and service providers should be mindful of the approaching invoice deadline for FY2015 recurring services (see below). Do not wait until the last minute to submit an invoice, especially if you have not completed all of the necessary steps discussed below.

Commitments for Funding Year 2016

Funding Year 2016. USAC will release Funding Year (FY) 2016 Wave 11 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) on September 2. This wave includes commitments for approved applications for all service types and at all discount levels. As of September 2, FY2016 commitments total just under $405.9 million.

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

Update on Fall Applicant Training 

Two of the training sessions have gone to waiting lists. If the training you would like to attend has gone to a waiting list, we will put you on the waiting list after you complete the registration form. Because we work the waiting lists on a first-come, first-served basis, it is to your advantage to register as soon as possible.

Below is the registration status for each of the eight training sessions:




Washington, DC

September 26

Waiting list

Orlando, FL

October 6


Houston, TX

October 14


Philadelphia, PA

October 18


Minneapolis, MN

November 1


St. Louis, MO

November 10


Seattle, WA

November 16


Los Angeles, CA

November 18

Waiting list

You can register for a training session and get information on reserving a room at the conference hotel on the Trainings & Outreach page on the USAC website.

If you have any questions about the training, please email USAC.

Reminders on the Upcoming October 28 Invoicing Deadline 

In general, October 28, 2016 is the invoice deadline for FY2015 recurring services. We are providing the following reminders so that applicants and service providers can take any necessary actions well in advance of the deadline.

Unless otherwise noted, the guidance below applies to both invoice forms – FCC Form 472, Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) Form and FCC Form 474, Service Provider Invoice (SPI) Form.

In order for USAC to successfully process an invoice for a funding request number (FRN) for recurring services, ALL of the following must have occurred:

  • USAC must have issued a positive funding commitment for the FRN.
  • The service provider must have certified an FCC Form 473, Service Provider Annual Certification Form, for the funding year associated with the FRN.
  • The applicant must have certified an FCC Form 486, Receipt of Service Confirmation and Children's Internet Protection Act and Technology Plan Certification Form, featuring the FRN.
  • Services must have been delivered. (Remember that we are discussing recurring services – the last day to deliver FY2015 recurring services was June 30, 2016.)

Additional requirement for SPI Forms:

  • The service provider must have billed the applicant. Note that there is a presumption that the applicant will pay your bill within 90 days.

Additional requirements for BEAR Forms:

  • The applicant must have certified – and USAC must have reviewed and approved – an FCC Form 498, Service Provider and Billed Entity Identification Number and General Contact Information Form.
  • The applicant must have paid the service provider in full for the cost of the services.
  • The applicant must have a Personal Identification Number (PIN).

FCC Form 473 (SPAC Form)

Service providers must certify a SPAC Form for a funding year before USAC can pay invoices for that funding year.

For FY2015 and previous funding years, SPAC Forms were filed and certified on paper. Beginning July 1, 2016, SPAC Forms for all funding years must be filed and certified online through the E-File System. USAC will no longer process paper forms.

Applicants and service providers can verify that a SPAC Form has been filed by using the Search for SPIN Information tool on the Search Tools page. Users can enter the SPIN (also known as a 498 ID) or at least three characters of the service provider's name followed by a percent sign ("%") and click "Next." Every year for which the service provider has a SPAC Form on file with USAC will appear in the far right-hand column.

FCC Form 486

Applicants must certify an FCC Form 486 (1) to notify USAC that their services have started and (2) to certify their status under the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA). NOTE: Technology plans are no longer required under the E-rate Program, but since FCC Form 486 may be filed for any funding year, a technology plan certification may be required depending on the funding year for which it is filed.

Applicants file FY2016 FCC Forms 486 in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC). For now, FCC Forms 486 for FY2015 and previous funding years must be filed and certified in our legacy system. To file an FCC Form 486 for an earlier funding year, go to the Apply for E-rate page on the USAC website and, in the FCC Form 486 section, click "Previous Funding Years," choose "Start Your Form," and then click the "GO" button.

NOTE: The invoice deadline is 120 days after the last day to receive service or the date of the FCC Form 486 Notification Letter, whichever is later. For a majority of applicants, October 28 is the deadline to invoice for recurring services for the previous funding year. You can use the Deadlines tool on the USAC website to calculate your invoice deadline.

FCC Form 498

Applicants must complete FCC Form 498 to provide USAC with certain contact and banking information. USAC can no longer issue paper checks, so USAC must have this information on file to process payments electronically. (Service providers no longer approve BEAR Forms or pass BEAR payments on to applicants.) Applicants file the FCC Form 498 in EPC.

Applicants who intend to certify BEAR Forms should file and certify an FCC Form 498 as soon as possible. USAC must review each FCC Form 498, and will request additional documentation before the form can be processed. USAC's review must be completed before an applicant can file a BEAR Form.

Applicants who have not already completed the FCC Form 498 process should refer to the SL News Briefs for May 20 and August 12 for specific guidance on this process.

FCC Form 474 (SPI Form)

Service providers can continue to file SPI Forms online as they have in the past. To start an FCC Form 474, click the "File Online" link in the FCC Form 474 section of the Forms page.

Service providers who are set up for electronic invoicing can continue to submit SPI Forms electronically. Service providers who want to sign up for electronic invoicing can do so by following the instructions on the electronic invoicing guidance document.

FCC Form 472 (BEAR Form)

Applicants can continue to file BEAR Forms online as they have in the past. To start an FCC Form 472, click the "File Online" link in the FCC Form 472 section of the Forms page. As a reminder, service providers no longer review BEAR Forms, and USAC will make approved payments to applicants directly.

To log in and start a BEAR Form, the applicant must have a PIN. Applicants who already have a PIN can continue to use their PIN. BEAR Form filers who do not have a PIN can request one by calling the Client Service Bureau (CSB) at (888) 203-8100. In general, a PIN will arrive in a secure mailer within two weeks after the PIN request is submitted.

PINs are specific to a billed entity number (BEN) and the last name of the certifier, so each person authorized to file BEAR Forms for a BEN will need his or her own PIN.

Invoice deadline extension requests

If for any reason you feel that you will not be able to meet the October 28 deadline, you should file an invoice deadline extension request.

  • Applicants and service providers can receive a single, 120-day extension of the deadline to file an invoice.
  • The request MUST be submitted no later than the invoice deadline itself – for most FY2015 recurring services, that is October 28, 2016. Requests for extensions that are submitted after that date will be denied.
  • The 120-day clock starts the day after the original deadline, not the day that the request is approved by USAC. Consequently, we strongly suggest that you not wait until the last minute to file for an extension if you think you will need it, as it may take time for us to process your request.
  • We recommend using Submit a Question to submit your request. (From the Topic Inquiry menu, choose "Invoice Deadline Extension Request," click "GO," and provide the requested information.)

Document retention

All applicants and service providers are required to retain receipt and delivery records relating to pre-bidding, bidding, contracts, application process, invoices, provision of services, and other matters relating to the administration of universal service for a period of at least ten years after the latter of the last day of the applicable funding year or the service delivery deadline for the funding request.

Last Week in "File Along with Me":

  • Notifying USAC that services have started. Read More

"File Along with Me" is a blog that covers the E-rate Program application process step-by-step, and serves as a schedule you can follow to manage your application. Ready to join us? Read the Blog


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