April 12, 2019 

TIP OF THE WEEK: Register for the upcoming Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) webinar, on Wednesday, April 17, 2019. We will cover general information about the PIA review process and how to find and respond to questions from USAC in EPC. Click here to register.

Commitments for Funding Year 2018

Funding Year 2018. USAC released FY2018 Wave 53 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) on April 11. As of April 12, FY2018 commitments total over $2.19 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).

SL News Brief

Last week, USAC transitioned to a new email platform and email recipients of the SL News Brief may have noticed that links in editions issued before April 5, 2019 no longer work. These editions are still accessible with active links in the SL News Brief archive.

How to search the archive

Each newsletter published for the past two years is saved in the archive by topic(s) and by the date the newsletter was published. To view the newsletter in the archive,

  1. Select the tab for Topic or Date.
  2. Click the links provided to open a copy of the SL News Brief. The links are labeled by the date the newsletter was published.

If you are searching for a news brief that is not available in the archive, call our Client Service Bureau at (888) 203-8100 or submit a customer service case in EPC. To create a customer service case:

  1. Log in to EPC.
  2. Select the Contact Us link from the upper right menu on your landing page.

Responding to PIA Review Questions in EPC

In last week's SL News Brief, we provided an overview of the PIA review process. In this issue, we are including details about receiving and responding to PIA questions in EPC.

How you will be notified of PIA questions

PIA will send an email to let you know that questions are available through the EPC News tab.

The notification in the EPC News tab reads: From the FCC Form 471 Review Team. The notification includes:

  • Today's date
  • Response due date
  • Contact name
  • Applicant name
  • FCC Form 471 application number
  • A brief description of the question or questions
  • Your PIA reviewer's name and telephone number
  • A hyperlink to your questions (the blue bar at the bottom of the notification)

TIP: Enter "471 Review Team" in the News search function and hit the "Enter" key to locate these notification(s) more easily.

You can also locate your questions in the My Tasks section of your landing page. The hyperlinked name for each task is "Respond to Notifications for FCC Form 471 [form number]."

The News item hyperlink will take you to the complete list of PIA questions, but the My Tasks hyperlinks each take you to an individual question. For example, if you receive five PIA questions, you will see a list of all five questions if you use the News item option, and five separate tasks if you use the My Tasks option.

If you submitted more than one FCC Form 471 that requires PIA review, you will receive a separate set of questions for each form. However, if the same question applies to all of your forms, your reviewer can link that question so that you only have to answer it once.

How to access your PIA questions

When you click on the hyperlink from the News tab in EPC, you will access the Summary page of the FCC Form 471. You will then need to click the Review Inquiries hyperlink to access your PIA questions.

The Review Inquiries page is the applicant's dashboard (repository) for all PIA questions for each application. When you click on the hyperlink from the Tasks tab, you will access the dashboard directly. You can also access the Review Inquiries page by selecting the Records tab, then FCC Form 471, and searching for your FCC Form 471 number using the search function. Click on the FCC Form 471 Number hyperlink and then click "Review Inquiries" from the top navigation to continue.

You can perform the following actions from the Review Inquiries page by clicking the appropriate button at the top of the page:

  1. Respond to inquiries
  2. Request an extension of time to respond
  3. Submit a request to modify information on your form

How to respond to your PIA questions

Click on the "Respond to Inquiries" button to view and respond to your PIA questions.

When you click on this button, you will see the Pending Inquiries and Submitted Inquiries dashboards. These dashboards list the status of the PIA outreach, which includes the type of outreach, the date the notification was sent, the response due date, the reviewer's name and telephone number, and the read status. You will know if someone in your organization has viewed the inquiry because a blue eye icon will appear in the "Read" column.

  • "Pending" inquiries are questions submitted by PIA to the contact person.
  • "Submitted" inquiries are responses you submitted to PIA.

When you select a pending inquiry, a template is displayed listing the PIA question(s) associated with that inquiry. You can enter your answers within the template, upload supporting documentation (a single document or multiple documents), and/or provide additional narrative information.

The system allows you to begin to work on your answers and then save your work for later by clicking the "Save & Close" button. To return to your work, choose "Review Inquiries" while in the FCC Form 471 record.

  • Remember that only one user can work on a specific inquiry at one time. Different users can still work on different inquiries simultaneously.
  • One user can also allow another user to review and/or edit their work by saving the draft response as described above and then exiting the inquiry.

You must provide complete answers and respond to all of the questions. Contact your PIA reviewer if you are unsure of what to do or you need clarification.

  • If you do not respond within seven days – or your response is incomplete – you will receive a reminder notification. Your state E-rate coordinator will also receive a notification.
  • If you have not responded after 15 days and have not requested an extension (see below), we may process your application with the information on hand, which may lead to a reduction or denial of funding.

After you have finished your response, you can send it to PIA by clicking the "Submit" button. Your submitted response will then appear in the Submitted Inquiries dashboard. To expand this dashboard, click on the Submitted Inquiries header.

How to request an extension of time to answer PIA questions

You can request more time to respond to your PIA review questions. You will automatically be granted an extension for your first request. Your original response due date (generally 15 days from the date your questions were issued) is automatically adjusted and a new due date is calculated and displayed.

Subsequent extension requests are not automatic. These requests are reviewed and the decision to grant the request will appear in the Review Inquiries dashboard in the form of an extended due date. Decisions to deny the request appear in the comments section at the bottom of the original PIA News notification.

How to submit modifications to your FCC Form 471

If you need to provide additional information or correct existing information on your FCC Form 471 in advance or during the process of responding to PIA questions, you can submit modifications to your FCC Form 471 by clicking the "Submit Modifications Request" button on the Review Inquiries page.

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