November 4, 2016

TIP OF THE WEEK: File your FCC Form 486 for FY2016 if services have started for one or more FRNs for which you have received positive funding commitments (see below). Do not wait for USAC to notify you that your form may be late.

Commitments for Funding Years 2016 and 2015

Funding Year 2016. USAC is scheduled to release Funding Year (FY) 2016 Wave 20 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) on November 7. This wave includes commitments for approved applications for all service types and at all discount levels. As of November 4, FY2016 commitments total over $922.7 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 69 FCDLs on November 10. This wave includes commitments for approved requests for all service types and at all discount levels. As of November 4, 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. 

Update on FRN Status Tool Detailed Report

In the September 16 SL News Brief, USAC announced the development of the "Standard Report" feature for the new FRN Status Tool. This tool will display information about Funding Request Numbers (FRNs) for FY2016 and future funding years. It will have a look and feel similar to that of the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT), but provide more information that can be retrieved from the current DRT.

The Standard Report in the FRN Status Tool has been available since the tool was first announced. The Detailed Report is now available as well. To search for the information that can be displayed in the Detailed Report:

  • Choose at least one of the required criteria (state, BEN, CRN, or SPIN).
  • You can limit your search further by selecting one or more service types, applicant types, and/or optional criteria.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page and check the box marked "Select Data Points." A menu of additional data points will appear below.
    • To select all available data points, check the box marked "Select All Data Points."
    • To choose specific data points, check the individual boxes to the left of the data points you want to include in your search results.
  • To perform your search, scroll to the bottom of the menu and click the button labeled "Build Data File."
  • Your search results will appear in a .CSV file, which you can save and then open in a spreadsheet program.

We suggest that you carefully review the list of available fields in the FRN Status Tool instructions. The list is more extensive than that of the current DRT, and you should take advantage of the new fields provided with this tool.

Please also note the following:

  • The Standard Report no longer includes the FRN Service Type, as this field can change during the review of the FCC Form 471. The FRN Service Type is available in both the Original and Current views of the Detailed Report.
  • USAC will no longer provide an updated Excel file each week for FY2016 waves in the Funding Tools section of the Search Tools page, because this information will now be available in the FRN Status Tool.

FCC Form 486 Deadlines for FY2016

In the October 7 SL News Brief, we discussed the FCC Form 486, which applicants file to notify USAC that services have started and to report their status of compliance with the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA).

The deadline to file this form is calculated as follows:

  • 120 days after the date that services start or
  • 120 days after the date of the FCDL, whichever is later.

For applicants who certify their FCC Form 486 after the deadline, USAC resets their service start date to the date 120 days before the date the form was certified. USAC will not pay discounts on services received before the adjusted service start date.

For FY2016, all but the first wave of funding commitments were issued after July 1, 2016, the earliest date that services could start for FY2016. This means that, for most FY2016 applicants, their FCC Form 486 deadline is after October 29 (the date 120 days after July 1).

In addition, USAC has been directed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to send a reminder to applicants that appear to have missed their deadline, and to give them 15 days to certify their form without penalty.

For FY2016, FCC Form 486 Reminder Letters will be issued through the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) in the applicant's News feed (under the News tab at the top of any EPC page). Once the first letters have been issued, those applicants will have 15 days to certify an FCC Form 486 in EPC without penalty.

We will make an announcement in an SL News Brief before we release the first set of FCC Form 486 Urgent Reminder Letters in EPC. Once the first set of letters is issued, letters will be issued daily for each FRN that appears to have missed the deadline (i.e., if we do not have an FCC Form 486 certified 121 days after the service start date reported on the FCC Form 471 or 121 days after the FCDL date, whichever is later). Remember that USAC will continue to issue paper letters for FRNs for FY2015 and previous funding years as those FCC Forms 486 appear to be late, and these letters will feature a 20-day grace period (15 days plus 5 days for mailing).

We strongly urge you to file your FCC Form 486 if your filing deadline is approaching. Do not wait for USAC to issue you this letter. 

Update on PINs

October 28, 2016 was the deadline for most applicants to file and certify the FCC Form 472, Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) Form, for FY2015 recurring services.

To assist applicants to file and certify this form on or before the deadline, USAC created Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) upon request for applicants who did not already have a PIN, and sent those newly created PINs out by email rather than via a secure mailer.

Now that this deadline has passed, USAC will be returning to the procedure of issuing PINs by mail via a secure mailer. We emailed the last batch of PINs on Thursday, November 3, and checked the PIN file to verify that the PIN mailers would have been generated correctly. Starting Wednesday, November 9, we will resume sending out PINs via secure mailer.

Applicants should still contact the Client Service Bureau to request a PIN, either by opening a customer service case in EPC or by calling us at 888-203-8100. CSB will enter the request in our system and a PIN will be generated. All PINs that have been successfully generated before Wednesday each week will be printed and mailed on that Wednesday.

Last Week in "File Along with Me":

  • FCC Form 498 and the BEAR Method (Part 2). 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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