August 3, 2018

TIP OF THE WEEK: Plan to attend the Understanding Competitive Bidding webinar on August 22, 2018. You can register for the webinar from the Trainings & Outreach page of the USAC website.

Commitments for Funding Year 2018

USAC released FY2018 Wave 17 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) on August 3. As of August 3, FY2018 commitments total over $1.51 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).

Comment Period Established for Draft FY2019 Eligible Services List

On July 30, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Public Notice (DA 18-789) establishing the comment period for the FY2019 Eligible Services List (ESL).

Comments on the draft ESL, which is attached to the Public Notice, are due to the FCC on or before August 29, 2018. Reply comments are due to the FCC on or before September 13, 2018. For information on filing comments with the FCC, please refer to the Public Notice.

Preparing for Invoicing

The invoice deadline for recurring services is 120 days after the date of the FCC Form 486 Notification Letter or 120 days after the last date to receive services, whichever is later.

For most FY2017 recurring services, the invoice deadline will be October 29, 2018. Since October 28 falls on a Sunday, applicants and service providers will have until October 29 to submit invoices. Note that if your FCC Form 486 Notification Letter was issued after June 30, 2018 – or if it has not yet been issued – your invoice deadline will be calculated based on the date of your letter.

We are providing the following reminders so that applicants and service providers can start now to take any necessary actions well in advance of the invoice deadline for recurring services.

Unless otherwise noted, the guidance below applies to both invoice forms – FCC Form 472, Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) Form and FCC Form 474, Service Provider Invoice (SPI) Form.

Prerequisites to invoicing

In order for USAC to successfully process an invoice for an FY2017 Funding Request Number (FRN) for recurring services, ALL of the following must have occurred:

  • USAC must have issued a positive funding commitment for the FRN.
  • The service provider must have certified an FCC Form 473, Service Provider Annual Certification (SPAC) Form, for FY2017.
  • The applicant must have certified an FCC Form 486, Receipt of Service Confirmation and Children's Internet Protection Act Certification Form, featuring the FRN.
  • Services must have been delivered. (Remember that we are discussing recurring services – the last day to deliver FY2017 recurring services was June 30, 2018.)

Additional requirements for BEAR Forms:

  • The applicant must have certified – and USAC must have reviewed and approved – an FCC Form 498, Service Provider and Billed Entity Identification Number and General Contact Information Form.
  • The applicant must have paid the service provider in full for the cost of the services.
  • The applicant must have a Personal Identification Number (PIN) in order to file and certify a BEAR Form online.

Additional requirement for SPI Forms:

  • The service provider must have billed the applicant for its non-discount share. There is a presumption that your customer (the applicant) will pay your bill within 90 days.

FCC Form 473 (SPAC Form)

Service providers must certify a SPAC Form for FY2017 before USAC can pay invoices for FY2017 services. If a service provider has more than one Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN), that service provider must certify a SPAC Form for each SPIN. SPAC Forms for all funding years must be completed and certified online through the E-File System.

Applicants and service providers can verify that a SPAC Form has been certified by using the Service Provider Download tool on the Search Tools page. Users can enter either the SPIN (also known as a 498 ID) or several consecutive letters in the service provider's name followed by a percent sign (%) and then click Search. Every funding year for which the service provider's SPIN has a SPAC Form on file with USAC will appear in the far right-hand column of the search results.

FCC Form 486

Applicants must certify an FCC Form 486 to notify USAC that their services have started and to certify their status (or the status of the entities they represent) under the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA). Applicants complete and certify FY2017 FCC Forms 486 in EPC.

FCC Form 498

Applicants must certify an FCC Form 498 to provide USAC with certain contact and banking information so that USAC can process payments electronically. Applicants complete and certify the FCC Form 498 in EPC.

Applicants who intend to certify BEAR Forms should complete and certify an FCC Form 498 as soon as possible. USAC must review each FCC Form 498, and will request documentation of the banking account information – such as a bank statement or voided check – before approving the form. We suggest that you email USAC and attach a copy of the scanned bank account documents immediately after you certify your form. Please be sure to include your FCC Form 498 ID number in the email.

For more information, refer to the Obtain an Applicant 498 ID page.

FCC Form 472 (BEAR Form)

To start an FCC Form 472, applicants click the File Online link in the FCC Form 472 section of the Forms page. Remember that service providers no longer review BEAR Forms, and USAC will make approved payments to applicants directly.

To log in and start a BEAR Form, the applicant must have a Personal Identification Number (PIN). If you do not already have a PIN, you can request one by completing the PIN Request Template (please do this even if you are only requesting a single PIN) and attaching the completed template to a customer service case in EPC. You can also call the Client Service Bureau (CSB) at 888-203-8100 for assistance. In general, USAC will email your PIN within two weeks.

PINs are specific to a billed entity number (BEN) and the last name of the certifier, so each person authorized to file BEAR Forms for a BEN will need their own PIN.

FCC Form 474 (SPI Form)

To start an FCC Form 474, service providers click the File Online link in the FCC Form 474 section of the Forms page.

Service providers who are set up for electronic invoicing can continue to submit SPI Forms electronically. Service providers who want to sign up for electronic invoicing can do so by following the instructions on the electronic invoicing guidance document.

Document retention reminder

All applicants and service providers must retain all documents related to the application for, receipt, and delivery of supported services for at least 10 years after the later of the last day of the applicable funding year or the service delivery deadline for the funding request.

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