May 11, 2018

TIP OF THE WEEK: You can get more detail on the FCC Form 486 filing process described below by attending our May webinar. Click here to register, or you can register from the Webinars page in the Trainings & Outreach section of our website.

Commitments for Funding Years 2018 and 2017

Funding Year 2018. USAC is scheduled to release Funding Year (FY) 2018 Wave 6 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) on May 18. As of May 11, FY2018 commitments total just under $770 million.

Funding Year 2017. USAC is scheduled to release Wave 54 FCDLs on May 15. As of May 11, FY2017 commitments total just over $2.28 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).

Filing FCC Form 486

After applicants have received an FCDL with a positive funding commitment and services have started for the funding year, they must file an FCC Form 486 to accomplish the following:

  • To notify USAC that services have started and USAC can process invoices (FCC Form 472 and FCC Form 474).  NOTE: Service providers must also file FCC Form 473, the Service Provider Annual Certification Form, for the funding year before USAC can pay invoices.
  • To certify that the entities receiving services are covered by approved technology plan(s) – if required – and to provide the name(s) of the technology plan approver(s) that approved those technology plans. NOTE: Technology plans are not required for FY2015 and subsequent funding years. Technology plans were not required for Priority One services for Funding Year 2011 and later.
  • To certify the status of compliance with the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA).

Consortium members

For members of a consortium or in other situations where the entity filing the FCC Form 486 is not the Administrative Authority for purposes of CIPA, recipients of service may need to file the FCC Form 479, Certification of Administrative Authority to Billed Entity of Compliance with the Children's Internet Protection Act, with the entity that will file the FCC Form 486 on their behalf. The FCC Form 479 provides the information necessary for the Billed Entity to complete the appropriate CIPA certification(s) and successfully submit the FCC Form 486.

Filing FCC Form 486 for funding years before FY2016

For commitments from FY2015 and previous funding years, applicants must file FCC Form 486 in our legacy system. To start a form, go to the Forms page on the USAC website, scroll to the FCC Form 486 section, and click File Online (Legacy System).

  • REMINDER: The FCC Form 486 in the legacy system includes a technology plan certification. Technology plans are not required for FY2015 and subsequent funding years, and were not required for Category One services for FY2011 and later.

Below are some tips for filing the FCC Form 486 for FY2018 in EPC.

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

The two most common errors we saw on FY2017 FCC Forms 486 were:

  • 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).

Early filing

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.

CIPA Waiver

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.

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 with an incorrect service start date, 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.

If we find incorrect or inconsistent information on your certified form, we will have to review your form and, in consultation with you, correct your form before we can approve it. Checking your form for accuracy can obviate a USAC review. 

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