June 30, 2017

TIP OF THE WEEK: The FCC has released a Public Notice seeking comments on the draft Eligible Services List for FY2018. Comments are due on or before July 21, 2017, and reply comments are due on or before August 7, 2017. For information on filing comments with the FCC, please refer to DA 17-602.

Commitments for Funding Years 2017 and 2016

Funding Year 2017. USAC released Funding Year (FY) 2017 Wave 5 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) on June 27 and is scheduled to release Wave 6 FCDLs on July 8. These waves include commitments for approved applications for all service types and at all discount levels. As of June 30, FY2017 commitments total over $276 million.

Funding Year 2016. USAC is scheduled to release Wave 53 FCDLs on July 4. This wave includes commitments for approved applications for all service types and at all discount levels. As of June 30, FY2016 commitments total just under $2.81 billion.

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

FCC Form 486 Filing Tips

We expect the FY2017 FCC Form 486 to be available within the next few weeks. Below are some tips to help applicants get ready to file this form. You can also review a recording of our FCC Form 486 video for detailed information on the filing process for the FCC Form 486.

1. Do not check every box on the form – read the text next to each checkbox first. 

The two most common errors we have seen on FY2016 FCC Forms 486 are:

  • Checking the Early Filing box when the applicant is not filing early, and
  • Checking the CIPA Waiver box when the applicant is not eligible for a CIPA waiver.

These selections are the first checkboxes that appear immediately after you have selected the Funding Request Numbers (FRNs) on your FCC Form 486. If neither of these options applies, do not check any boxes on that screen, and instead click on the Continue button in the bottom right-hand corner. Selecting the CIPA Waiver when it does not apply or when you are requesting services that requires CIPA compliance will delay your ability to invoice (see below).

To be eligible for early filing, you must have:

  • Received an FCDL with a positive commitment on or before July 31 of the funding year.
  • Verified with your service provider that your services will start in the month of July.
  • Be able to accurately make all of the relevant certifications on the form as of the date that your services start.

NOTE: Because the FCC Form 486 for FY2017 will not be available before July 1 – and most services start on July 1 – early filing will not be an option for most applicants for FY2017.

To be eligible for a CIPA waiver in your second funding year, you must be unable to make the certifications required by CIPA because your state or local procurement rules or regulations or competitive bidding requirements prevent the making the certification(s) otherwise required. You should not check this waiver just because you are not yet in compliance with the requirements of CIPA. To complete the form correctly, come into compliance with the requirements of CIPA and then report your service start date as the first date you were in compliance with CIPA.

For a detailed description of the requirements of CIPA, refer to the CIPA guidance page on the USAC website.

2. Choose only the FRNs that are ready for filing.

When you start the FCC Form 486 in EPC and choose a funding year, the system will present you with a list of the funded FRNs from all of the FCC Forms 471 you filed for the funding year.

You may not be ready to certify an FCC Form 486 for all of your FRNs. For example, services may have started for some FRNs but not for others. Or you may be ready to make the appropriate CIPA certification for your voice services but not for your internet access services.

After you start your first FCC Form 486, choose the FRNs that you want to appear on the form by checking the box to the left of each FRN on the list. Then click the button marked Add (x) FRNs, where (x) represents the total number of FRNs you have chosen. Your chosen list of FRNs will then appear below the complete list of FRNs in the Selected FRNs section.

If you want to remove one or more of the chosen FRNs from your list, check the box to the left of each FRN to be removed. The Remove (x) FRNs button will be enabled, and you can click that button to remove those FRNs from your form.

3. Modify the service start date(s) as appropriate.

In EPC, we preserve the service start date you entered on your FCC Form 471. However, your situation may have changed since you certified your FCC Form 471, and you now need to report a different date as the actual service start date.

In the Service Information section of the form, you will see the FRNs you have chosen together with the service start dates you reported on the FCC Form 471. For each FRN whose service start date is incorrect, select that FRN and enter the correct service start date in the field provided. If you want to change the service start date on several FRNs to the same date, you can select those FRNs and only enter the new service start date once to change all of them. Otherwise you must change service start dates one at a time.

4. Choose the correct CIPA certification based on your situation.

The overwhelming majority of applicants must be compliant with the requirements of CIPA in their second funding year.

  • Do not indicate that you are working toward compliance if your first funding year has already been established.
  • Do not indicate that CIPA does not apply if you are getting internet services or funding for Category Two services.
  • If you are a consortium or other entity that makes the appropriate CIPA certification(s) on behalf of its members, be sure to collect FCC Forms 479 from all of your members before certifying the FCC Form 486.

For questions about the requirements of CIPA – including the definitions of your first, second, and third funding years – refer to the CIPA guidance page on the USAC website.

5. Review your form carefully before you certify it.

During much of FY2016, applicants who made mistakes on their forms could cancel and refile them. That option will not be available for FY2017. For incorrect or inconsistent information on your certified form, USAC will have to review your form and, in consultation with you, correct your form before we can approve it. While we expect this process to occur more quickly in FY2017, checking your form for accuracy can obviate a USAC review. 

FY2018 FCC Form 470 Reminders

The FY2018 FCC Form 470 is now available in EPC. Applicants with long procurement cycles or who have other reasons for starting their FY2018 competitive bidding processes well in advance of the funding year can now complete and certify this form.

To start an FCC Form 470 in EPC, log in to EPC and click the FCC Form 470 link at the top of your landing page.

Remember that USAC will be hosting a webinar on how to complete the FCC Form 470 on Tuesday, July 18, at 3:00 PM EDT. To register for the webinar, visit the Webinars page on the USAC website.

For those of you who are filing the FCC Form 470 in EPC for the first time – or for those applicants who need a reminder of the differences between EPC and the legacy filing system – we are providing the following tips and reminders:

The FCC Form 470 must be filed online in EPC.

There is no longer a paper version of the FCC Form 470. Any necessary instructions are built into the online experience. There are user guides available inside EPC and on the USAC website to help applicants complete their forms along with a series of instructional videos. To review the guidance materials on the USAC website, refer to the section titled "One: Request Bids for Services (FCC Form 470)" on the Apply for E-rate page.

You no longer need a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to file the FCC Form 470. By logging in to the EPC system, you have already identified yourself to us. Note, however, that you will need your PIN to file an FCC Form 472, Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) Form, so if you already have a PIN, keep it handy.

Before you submit your form, you can review and print a PDF version of your draft form. You can then review the PDF and make any necessary edits before the form is certified.

Some information must be completed in your organization's profile in EPC before you can file a program form.

Your billed entity information – including address and contact information, attributes for the schools in a school district or libraries in a library system, and other pertinent data – is pulled into program forms that you file from your organization's profile in EPC. You should review this information for accuracy and make any necessary changes before you file your form.

If you need help locating or creating a school in your school district or a library in your library system, call the Client Service Bureau (CSB) at (888) 203-8100. Consortia should also verify that their members are featured in the consortium's profile before the consortium certifies the FCC Form 470.

If you issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) and/or RFP documents, they must be uploaded to the FCC Form 470.

If you are issuing an RFP and/or one or more RFP documents, you are required to upload those documents to your FCC Form 470. We use "RFP" and "RFP document" generically to refer to any bidding document that describes your project and requested services in more detail than that provided in the data entry fields on the FCC Form 470. An RFP document can be a formal bidding document – for example, an Invitation for Bid (IFB) or Request for Quote (RFQ) – or it could be any document issued as part of your competitive bidding process to provide more information to potential bidders. It is not sufficient for you to upload a document that contains a link to another website where the RFP can be accessed (for example, a procurement portal). The actual RFP itself (along with all subsequent addendums) must be made publicly available through USAC's website by uploading the RFP in EPC.

In addition, RFP documents issued AFTER an FCC Form 470 is certified and posted MUST be uploaded to that certified FCC Form 470. Note that if you did not add an RFP document to your original form before it was certified, you cannot add an RFP document later – instead, to include an RFP document, you must attach the document to a new FCC Form 470 and then certify that form.

Remember to comply with all competitive bidding requirements, including the requirements that applicants wait at least 28 days after the FCC Form 470 and/or RFP is posted to the USAC website before selecting a service provider, executing any contracts for contracted services, or signing and submitting an FCC Form 471.

To add an RFP document to a certified FCC Form 470:

  • From your organization's landing page, scroll down to the FCC Forms section and use the search function to locate your form.
  • Click the form nickname to open the form.
  • Choose Related Actions from the left-hand menu, then choose Add an RFP Document.
  • If you attached an RFP document to your FCC Form 470, click the Choose File button from the Upload RFP section, upload your RFP document, and then associate the document to the appropriate service request(s). As above, you must upload the actual document.

Applicants certify the form online before it is posted to the USAC website.

In EPC, the FCC Form 470 is not posted to the USAC website until it is certified. If the user who creates the form does not also have the necessary rights (permissions) to certify it, EPC will create a task for users within the organization who do.

  • Users with partial rights to the FCC Form 470 can complete the form but cannot certify the form.
  • Users with full rights to the FCC Form 470 can complete, edit, and certify the form in EPC.

Your receipt notification will appear in your EPC News feed shortly after you certify your form.

USAC no longer issues paper FCC Form 470 Receipt Notification Letters (RNLs). Instead, your RNL will appear in the News tab in your EPC account a short time after you certify your form. Requests to correct certain errors can be submitted through EPC by clicking Related Actions in the form as described above.

Service providers will be able to view filed FCC Forms 470 either through EPC or through the USAC website.

EPC has a search and download function that will allow service providers with accounts in EPC to search for certified FCC Forms 470. The form data from the search results can also be downloaded as a set of .CSV files.

Service providers will also be able to view PDF versions of FY2018 FCC Forms 470 along with any associated RFP documents from the appropriate FCC Form 470 tools on the Search Tools page on the USAC website.

FCC Forms 470 filed for past funding years are still available on the USAC website.

If you need to locate an FCC Form 470 filed for a funding year before FY2016, go to the Apply for E-rate page on the USAC website, go to the menu labeled Previous Funding Years under the Start Your Form 470 button, choose View Posted Form, and click GO. You can then choose the appropriate funding year, click Next>>, and enter your search criteria to locate a form.


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