October 21, 2016

TIP OF THE WEEK: Follow the guidance below if you are still working on the invoice process for FY2015 recurring services. Be sure to ask for an invoice deadline extension if you have any doubt about your ability to complete the invoice process by the October 28 deadline.

Commitments for Funding Years 2016 and 2015

Funding Year 2016. USAC is scheduled to release Funding Year (FY) 2016 Wave 18 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) on October 24. This wave includes commitments for approved applications for all service types and at all discount levels. As of October 21, FY2016 commitments total over $775.0 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).

Funding Year 2015. USAC will release FY2015 Wave 67 FCDLs on October 27. This wave includes commitments for approved requests for all service types and at all discount levels. As of October 21, FY2015 commitments total over $3.31 billion.  

The day after the wave runs, you can check to see if you have a commitment by using USAC's Automated Search of Commitments tool. FCDLs for FY2015 will continue to be printed and mailed to applicants and service providers, and emailed to service providers who have signed up to receive electronic notifications. 

Invoice Deadline Extension Request Tool Now Available

October 28, 2016 is the deadline for most applicants and service providers for:

  • Submitting invoices for FY2015 recurring services.
  • Requesting an invoice deadline extension to invoice for those services.

Applicants and service providers can now request an extension of invoice deadlines automatically by using a new tool.

To use the Invoice Deadline Extension tool, you must first log in to the online BEAR to establish your identity.

  • For an applicant to access the tool:
    • Log in to the online BEAR Form. (You can also go to the Forms page on the USAC website and click the File Online button under the FCC Form 472 section.)
    • Click the Deadline Extension tab at the top of the screen.
  • For a service provider to access the tool:
    • Log in to the E-File System.
    • Click the link marked "472 Online BEAR."
    • Set your SPIN by choosing your SPIN and clicking "Set." (If you have more than one SPIN, you must choose the appropriate SPIN from the dropdown list.)
    • Click the Deadline Extension tab at the top of the screen.

After you have clicked the Deadline Extension tab as either an applicant or a service provider:

  • Enter the first Funding Request Number (FRN) for which you want to request a deadline extension. You can only request an extension for one FRN at a time.
  • The screen will display the details of the FRN – e.g., FCC Form 471 application number, FRN, Billed Entity Number (BEN), Service Provider, Commitment Status, Committed Amount, Amounts Disbursed on the FRN, and current Last Date to Invoice – so that you can verify that you entered the correct FRN.
  • When you are ready to request the extension, click "Submit."

You will receive an automatic approval or denial message on your screen and USAC will also send you an email containing the same message. (Note that the email will come from the sender "no-reply" and the domain "," so the email may be blocked if you do not add this information to your safe senders list.) Additionally, if your request is approved, the FRN Extension Table will immediately be updated with the extended deadline.

Invoice deadline extension requests can be denied for the following reasons:

  • The entire commitment on the FRN has already been paid.
  • An invoice deadline extension request was recently requested and approved. For example, your service provider may have submitted a request, or you or someone in your organization may have used Submit a Question to submit a request. You can check the FRN Extension Table to determine if the deadline was extended.
  • You have already received one 120-day invoice deadline extension for this FRN and USAC cannot approve a second 120-day extension. You can check the FRN Extension Table to determine the invoice deadline date.
  • USAC has not yet made a commitment on the FRN.
  • The FRN was denied.
  • The FRN is not associated with your login credentials. If this is the case, please try to resubmit with the correct information.
  • The request was made after the last date to invoice.

If, for whatever reason, filing an extension through the Invoice Deadline Extension tool is not possible, extensions of the invoice deadline can still be requested by using Submit a Question.

  • On the Submit a Question page, click the "Continue" button.
  • Choose "Invoice Deadline Extension Request" from the Topic Inquiry menu.
  • Choose "Other" from the Specific Inquiry menu and click the "Continue" button.
  • Fill in the required contact information. We suggest that you indicate that you are not submitting attachments. Then click the "Continue" button.
  • In the text box marked "Questions?", indicate that you are requesting an invoice deadline extension, and provide the funding request numbers (FRNs). You do not need to provide a reason or an explanation.
  • When you are finished, click the "Submit" button.

Please note it will take additional time for USAC to process invoice deadline extension requests that are submitted though Submit a Question

Reminders for Applicants Submitting Invoices for FY2015 Recurring Services

If you are still working on invoices to submit on or before the October 28 deadline, remember the following:

Verify that your service provider has filed an FCC Form 473 (SPAC Form) for FY2015 online.

  • Go to the Search for SPIN Information tool.
  • Enter at least three letters of the service provider's name followed by a percent sign (%) or enter the Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN), and click the "Next" button.
  • Locate the appropriate SPIN (if there is more than one search result).
  • In the far right-hand column, look for "2015." If 2015 appears, the service provider has successfully filed the form.

USAC was unable to process paper SPAC Forms for previous funding years once the online SPAC Form became available in the E-File System, and USAC could not process ANY paper SPAC Forms for FY2016. If your service provider filed a SPAC Form on paper, encourage your service provider to refile it online using the E-File System.

If your service provider has not filed the SPAC Form as the invoice deadline approaches, go ahead and file the BEAR. You may encounter a warning message (e.g., the service provider has not yet filed a SPAC Form), but you should proceed and submit the invoice.

Verify that USAC has approved your FCC Form 498 if you intend to file BEAR Forms.

  • Go to the Search for 498 ID Status tool. The 498 IDs are in numerical order. It may take some time to load in your browser. 
    • To search by 498 ID, scroll down the list to the appropriate number. If you cannot scroll, switch to a different browser or copy the entire table (see below).
    • To search by Billed Entity Number (BEN), use your browser's Find command (Ctrl+F) to type in the BEN(s) you are looking for.
    • To search for a large number of BENs, you can copy the entire table by clicking in the table, selecting all (Ctrl+A), copying the result (Ctrl+C), opening a spreadsheet program, and pasting your results (Ctrl+V) in the first cell of a blank spreadsheet.
  • Find the status. The statuses are Certified (submitted and certified by the applicant), Rejected (errors in the data or the documentation), or Approved (data and documentation reviewed and verified). BEAR Forms can only be submitted if the applicant's FCC Form 498 status is "Approved."

If you have questions, have your 498 ID ready (the nine-digit number after your form nickname which starts with "#443-") and call us at 888-641-8722, option 5. If the invoice deadline is approaching and the FCC Form 498 is not yet in "Approved" status, file an invoice deadline extension request using the above method.

Request a Personal Identification Number (PIN) if you do not have one.

If you have a Personal Identification Number that you have used in USAC's legacy system to file program forms (all program forms or just BEAR Forms), you can use your PIN to log in to and file the online BEAR Form.

If you need USAC to issue you a PIN, call the Client Service Bureau at 888-203-8100 to request a PIN. We are creating PINs as requests come in and, through October 28, we are sending PINs by email to applicants multiple times a week. If the invoice deadline is approaching and you do not have a PIN, file an invoice deadline extension request using the above method.

For more information on these topics, you can refer to last week's SL News Brief.

  • Last Week in "File Along with Me":

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