March 24, 2017

TIP OF THE WEEK: You have less than three weeks to certify your FCC Form 470 in EPC for FY2017. April 13, 2017 is the last possible day to certify an FCC Form 470 and still be able to certify an FCC Form 471 within the filing window.

Commitments for Funding Year 2016

Funding Year 2016. USAC is scheduled to release Funding Year (FY) 2016 Wave 40 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) on March 30. This wave includes commitments for approved applications for all service types and at all discount levels. As of March 24, FY2016 commitments total over $2.37 billion.

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 RFCDLs

In the past, USAC has issued Revised Funding Commitment Decision Letters (RFCDLs) only to communicate decisions on appeals that involved changes to the database (e.g., committing funding that had been denied, updating student counts, creating a new Funding Request Number (FRN), changing a service provider). If the appeal was denied, dismissed, or canceled – or for certain other decisions – USAC issued an Administrator's Decision Letter (ADL) explaining its decision.

For FY2016 and future funding years, the RFCDL process will be expanded to include most post-commitment notifications, including our decisions on Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN) changes and service substitutions. For FY2015 and previous funding years (legacy), USAC will continue to issue communications as we have in the past. (See the chart at the bottom of this article for specific information.)

We expect to start issuing RFCDLs for FY2016 in the next few weeks. We suggest that you review any requests that you have already submitted by accessing the appropriate record from the FCC Forms and Post-Commit Requests section of your organization's landing page to better understand the information in the RFCDL. To do this:

  • Click the radio button for Post-Commit Requests.
  • Select the Request Type and Funding Year. You can also limit your search by choosing the Status.
  • To view a single record, click the hyperlinked Request Number of the record. 

USAC review process for requests for FY2016 and future funding years:

If we have sufficient information to make a decision on the request, we can complete our review without contacting you. However, if we do not have sufficient information to make a decision, we do the following:

  • We send an email to all full- and partial-rights users who have post-commitment rights. (Your account administrator assigns these rights in the Post-Commitment Permission column of the Manage User Permissions page in EPC.) We also create a post in the News tab which indicates that it came from the FRN Case Review Team. 
  • If the full- or partial-rights user is already logged in to EPC, clicking the link provided in the email will take the user directly to the record for the appeal, SPIN change request, or service substitution request. If the user is not logged in, clicking the link will take the user to the EPC login page and then, after the user logs in, directly to the record.
  • The user chooses Related Actions from the left-hand menu and is presented with three options: Respond, Request Extension, and Cancellation.

To respond to USAC's questions, click Respond and follow the prompts to provide your information.

  • The deadline to respond to appeal questions is 15 days.
  • The deadline to respond to SPIN changes and service substitutions is seven days.

If you need more time to respond, click Request Extension.

  • The first extension, which is always seven days, is granted automatically. You will receive a confirmation immediately after you submit your extension request.
  • A second extension must be reviewed by USAC and is not automatically granted.

If you want to cancel your appeal or request, click Cancellation.

  • You can cancel the entire appeal or the entire request.
  • If more than one Funding Request Number (FRN) is featured in your appeal or request, you can choose to remove one or more of the FRNs while still preserving the appeal or request.

After our review process has been completed, we will issue an RFCDL. RFCDL Notifications will appear in the Notifications section of your landing page in EPC. Note that service provider notifications will include access to CSV files if the service provider has signed up for electronic notifications.

USAC review process for requests for funding years before FY2016:

For appeals and requests for funding years before FY2016, we will continue to follow our original review process.

  • For more information, we will reach out first to the person who filed the request.
  • If we cannot make a successful contact, we will then reach out to the contact person on the FCC Form 471.

After we have reached a decision, we will communicate it as follows:

Request/Decision Communications for FYs before FY2016
Appeal (denial, dismissal, cancellation) Paper ADL
Appeal (approval or modification) Paper RFCDL (CSV files by email for service providers who have requested electronic notifications)
Appeal (modification to FCC Form 486) Paper ADL and new or revised FCC Form 486 Notification Letter (CSV files as above)
SPIN change request (denial, dismissal, cancellation) Paper ADL
SPIN change request (approval or modification) Paper RFCDL (CSV files as above)
State Replacement Contract SPIN change request (denial, dismissal, cancellation) Paper ADL
State Replacement Contract SPIN change request (approval or modification) Paper RFCDL (CSV files as above)
Service substitution request (denial, dismissal, cancellation) Paper ADL
Service substitution request (approval or modification) Paper RFCDL (CSV files as above)

Update and Guidance on Known EPC Issues  

Below are the issues we are currently working on in EPC. If there is a workaround or further guidance, it appears in italics.

1. FCC Form 486 technology plan certification

After our last deployment, the technology plan certification (which is no longer required) reappeared in the list of certifications for the FY2016 FCC Form 486. If you are filing this form for FY2016, simply check the certification – which is not incorrect because it says "if required" – in order to continue.

2. Missing service provider FCC Form 486 notifications

We have identified three issues with these notifications:

  • Some service provider notifications are appearing under FY2017 even though they are for FY2016.
  • Some service providers are receiving other service providers' notifications.
  • Some service providers are not able to access the CSV files that should be generated and available along with their notifications.

3. FCC Form 500 status of "Wave Ready"

FCC Forms 500 for FY2016 feature the status "Wave Ready" shortly after they are certified. The status should be "In Review."

4. FCC Form 500 form number field

EPC automatically assigns a form number to FCC Forms 500 for FY2016. However, forms filed for FY2015 and previous funding years feature a blank field that requests the form number. Applicants should enter in this field the funding year that applies to the scanned copy of the FCC Form 500 they attach in EPC.

5. Incomplete FCC Forms 471 no longer available

We have identified two issues with these forms:

  • Applicants receive a message that the form is being filed out of window and they cannot continue. Applicants who receive this message should open a customer service case in EPC or contact our Client Service Bureau (CSB) 1-888-203-8100 to notify us of the problem.
  • Applicants do not receive a task to continue their incomplete form. Applicants should wait 24 hours to see if we are able to generate a task to return to their form. If the task does not appear, contact CSB.


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