March 31, 2017

TIP OF THE WEEK: You have less than two 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 41 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) on April 6. This wave includes commitments for approved applications for all service types and at all discount levels. As of March 31, FY2016 commitments total just under $2.39 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 New EPC Functionality

USAC will be deploying some new functionality in EPC over the weekend. Some of the functions being deployed will be familiar, and some will be new.

Below is a summary of the functionality applicants will experience after the deployment:

Revised Funding Commitment Decision Letters (RFCDLs)

USAC expects to start issuing RFCDLs next week. As a reminder, for FY2016 and future funding years, the RFCDL process will be expanded to include most post-commitment notifications, including our decisions on appeals, Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN) changes and service substitutions.

RFCDL notifications will appear in the Notifications section of your landing page. In addition, when we run an RFCDL wave, we will continue to issue pipe-delimited CSV files to service providers who have signed up for electronic notifications.

  • Note for service providers who get electronic files: Because RFCDLs can now contain multiple changes to a single Funding Request Number (FRN) – but your pipe-delimited CSV file only contains one RFCDL comment field – we have created a hierarchy of comments, and will only display the highest comment in the hierarchy if more than one comment applies. The hierarchy is:
    • Appeals rationale (If more than one appeal for the FRN has a decision in the wave, the rationale for the earliest appeal will be displayed.)
    • SPIN change decision
    • Service substitution decision.

For more details – including a detailed list of communications for FY2015 and previous funding years – you can refer to last week's SL News Brief.

Appeals, SPIN change requests, service substitution requests

All of the functionality related to appeals, SPIN change requests, and service substitution requests will be in place. USAC will send questions to applicants in EPC, applicants will be able to see and respond to the questions in EPC, and – after our review of the appeal or request is complete – USAC will be able to issue RFCDLs communicating its decisions.

Applicants will also be able to review the history of USAC's outreach through EPC – questions from USAC, applicant responses, and response deadline extensions requested.

For a complete description of the options available for receiving and answering questions from USAC, you can refer to last week's SL News Brief.

FCC Form 486 and FCC Form 486 Notifications

The following changes will be deployed:

  • The technology plan certification will be removed from the FY2016 FCC Form 486.
  • Service providers will be able to access their pipe-delimited CSV files for FCC Form 486 Notification Letters.

FCC Form 500

The FCC Form 500 status will now show the correct status of the form instead of always displaying "Wave Ready."

Receipt Acknowledgment Letter (RAL) modifications

The RAL modification functionality for FY2017 FCC Forms 471 will be restored. To submit a RAL modification, locate your FCC Form 471 in EPC, choose Related Actions from the left-hand menu, and then choose Submit Modification Request (RAL).

RAL modifications are the best method for submitting entity profile changes that you have been unable to make during the application filing window. Because the RAL modification function allows applicants to provide specific information in an organized format, it will be much easier for Program Integrity Assurance reviewers to locate and understand the entity changes you want to make.

Following is a short list of the options available for RAL modifications:

- Application > Application Details

If you click the Application button and then choose Application Details from the sub-category dropdown, click the Continue button. You can either cancel your application, or you can modify the application nickname, the contact person, and the holiday contact information.

- Application > Funding Request Details

If you click the Application button and then choose Funding Request Details, you will see a list of the funding request numbers (FRNs) on this form.

  • To create a new FRN and add its key information, click the Add FRN button.
  • To modify an existing FRN, check the box to the left of the FRN:
    • View Line Items allows you to view the line items for that FRN. If you check the box next to a line item, you can edit the line item or manage the recipients of service.
    • Edit Funding Request allows you to cancel the FRN or edit the FRN Key Information.
    • Edit Purchase Agreement allows you to make certain changes to the information you originally entered regarding services provided under contract or on a tariffed or month-to-month basis. Note that if you chose contracted services and now want to associate a different contract record with your FRN, you must first create that new contract record in your profile so that it will appear in your search results.

- Entity > BEN

If you click the Entity button and then click BEN, check the box to the left of the BEN and choose one of the following:

  • Add Related Entity pulls up a list of the entities associated with the BEN. You can add any of the entities on the list to your FCC Form 471. (See below for how to associate a school to your school district or a library branch to your library system.)
  • Edit allows you to edit the information that appears in the organization's profile. Remember that the profile itself is not updated by any modifications you make here.

- Entity > Related Entities

If you click the Entity button and then click Related Entities, you are presented with the current list of entities associated with the BEN on this form. To modify information for an entity, check the box to the left of the entity's name.

  • Clicking Remove will remove the selected entity from the application.
  • Clicking Edit allows you to edit the same information that appears in the entity's profile. Remember that the profile itself is not updated by any modifications you make here.

- Other modifications

If the modification you want to request is not included in the options above, create a document that describes your modification request in detail. To upload your document to your request, click Application, choose Application Details from the sub-category dropdown and click Continue, then use the Upload File function in the Supporting Documentation section of the Application Details page to upload your document.

You should use this upload feature if the Client Service Bureau (CSB) has created an entity for your during the time your profile has been locked, but the entity could not be associated with your organization. You can also indicate which FRN line items should feature this entity as a recipient of service.

- Submitting a request

After you have completed data entry for all of the modifications you would like to submit in this request, review the Requested Changes table one last time to make sure all of your modifications are correct. You can always remove a requested modification by checking the box to the left of the modification and clicking the Remove button.

To submit your request, click the Finish & Submit Request button at the bottom of the screen.

You can review the list of requests you have submitted by clicking the Reports tab and choosing My Submitted Modification Requests (RAL). You can also click the word View in the Supporting Document(s) column to see the documents you have uploaded to that request. 

Update and Guidance on Waivers of the FY2015 Recurring Services Invoice Deadline  

On March 16, 2017, the FCC issued order DA 17-256 providing relief for applicants who missed the original and/or the extended invoice deadline for FY2015 recurring services because USAC had not issued a 498 ID or a PIN by the appropriate deadline.

To qualify for this extension, you must meet one of the following conditions:

  • You certified an FCC Form 498 on or before October 31, 2016, but USAC did not issue your FCC Form 498 ID by October 31.
  • You received an invoice deadline extension and certified an FCC Form 498 on or before February 27, 2017 but USAC did not issue your FCC Form 498 ID by February 27.
  • You received an invoice deadline extension and requested a Personal Identification Number (PIN) on or before February 27, 2017 but USAC did not issue your PIN by February 27.

Earlier this week, USAC sent an email to all affected applicants with a list of their FRNs that qualify for the extended deadline. These applicants must file their invoices on or before April 19, 2017.

Regardless of whether an affected applicant has taken no action, filed an invoice that was rejected as late, filed an appeal with USAC, or filed a waiver request with the FCC, the applicant should go ahead and submit a new invoice by the April 19 deadline to be included as part of this waiver.

NOTE: If you received an email but have already invoiced USAC and been paid for your FY2015 recurring services, no further action is necessary.

If you did not receive an email but you believe you qualify for the extension, you can use the FRN Extension Status tool on the USAC website to verify your deadline. To use the tool, choose Year 18 (FY2015), wait for the results to load, then use the search function on your browser to locate your FRN(s) and verify that the extended invoice date on your FRN(s) is April 19.

  • If you see the April 19 deadline, file your invoice.
  • If you cannot locate your FRN, the deadline for that FRN has not been extended. In this case, you can file an appeal with USAC and explain why you believe you meet one of the above conditions.

Webinars for E-rate Program Beginners  

E-rate program applicants are invited to participate in two webinars tailored for new E-rate applicants or anyone who needs a refresher on basic program information.

Register for one or both webinars based on your training needs.

E-rate 101: Introduction to the E-rate Program
Wednesday, April 5, 2017, 1:00 – 2:00 PM EDT
Register Now!

E-rate Program Application Process
Thursday, April 6, 2017, 1:00 – 2:00 PM EDT
Register Now!


If you can't attend the live presentations next week, register for the webinars and we'll send you a link to the recording. The recordings will also be posted in the Online Learning Library.


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