Archive for July 2014

SLD News – 7/25/14 – Focus: E-rate Moderization; Service Provider Form 498

Commitments for Funding Years 2014 and 2013

Funding Year 2014. USAC will release Funding Year (FY) 2014 Wave 12 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) on July 30. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 1 (Telecommunications Services and Internet Access) requests at all discount levels. As of July 25, FY2014 commitments total over $1.58 billion.

Funding Year 2013. USAC will release FY2013 Wave 60 FCDLs on July 31. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 1 requests at all discount levels. As of July 25, FY2013 commitments total over $2.08 billion.

On the day the FCDLs are mailed, you can check to see if you have a commitment by using USAC’s Automated Search of Commitments tool.

FCC Releases E-rate Modernization Order

On July 23, the FCC released the E-rate Modernization Order (FCC 14-99), a copy of which can be found here.

SERVICE PROVIDERS: How to Update Information on FCC Form 498

Service providers certify an FCC Form 498 to receive a Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN) when they begin to participate in one or more of the four Universal Service Fund (USF) programs: High Cost, Low Income, Rural Health Care, and Schools and Libraries. However, this form also allows service providers to update their information when it changes or to provide new information when it is required.

Here are some tips for updating your FCC Form 498:

Prepare or file your form online.

The first time you file FCC Form 498, USAC will send a UserID and Password to the General Contact and Company Officer on the form, which they can use to log in to USAC’s E-File System. (Note: if you filed your first FCC Form 498 before October 2005 and have never filed an update, you do not have online access and will have to file on paper.) The E-File System gives you access to a number of useful tools, and also provides a mechanism to easily file updates to FCC Form 498 online.

The online system not only guides you through the process, but will compare certain information and let you know if your entries are inconsistent. For example, the system will check:

  • Your Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) and your 499 Filer ID, if you have these numbers, and let you know if there is a mismatch or populate the 499 Filer ID if you have forgotten to do so.
  • Your FCC Registration Number (CORES ID) – If you have this number, the E-File System will let you know. If you provide a number and the number does not match with the number in our records, the system will provide you with the correct number.
  • Your bank routing number and the list of valid bank routing numbers from the Federal Reserve – Again, the system will let you know if the number you provided does not appear on the list.

Note that your General Contact (Block 2 of FCC Form 498) can submit but not certify changes to the form. If changes are submitted, the Company Officer (Block 15) will receive an email notification that the changes are ready for certification. The form changes are not complete until the Company Officer has certified them.

Remember too that forms filed online are posted the same day. Forms filed on paper take longer to process (see below).

Be prepared to provide all required information.

If you have not updated your FCC Form 498 recently, you may notice some required fields that are new to you. Here are a few examples:

  • A Dun and Bradstreet (D&B D-U-N-S or DUNS) Number, which is an industry standard for keeping track of the world’s businesses. If you don’t already have one, you can request a DUNS number or a DUNS number for government purposes for free.
  • FCC Registration Number (CORES ID), a number assigned by the Federal Communications Commission. If you don’t have an FCC Registration Number, you can request one on the FCC Registration web page.
  • Study Area Codes (SACs). If you participate in the High Cost and/or Low Income programs, these codes are necessary to establish the appropriate relationship between them and your SPIN.

If you file on paper, use the online system to complete your paper form.

As we have discussed above, the online system provides suggestions and error messages to guide you through the completion of your form. If you are filing on paper, you can still take advantage of these helpful messages by completing the form online, printing a copy, and mailing it to USAC.

However, keep the following in mind:

  • Processing paper takes time. We ask that you allow seven to 10 days for a paper form to be processed.
  • About half of the paper FCC Forms 498 submitted contain errors. We cannot complete processing a paper form until all errors have been corrected.

Monitor your email.

We use email notifications when processing your FCC Form 498. It is your responsibility to respond quickly and accurately to any emails from USAC. For example:

  • If we find an error on your FCC Form 498, we will send you an email telling you what the error is and how to correct it.
  • If the General Contact submits an FCC Form 498 online, we will send an email to the Company Officer identified in our records to notify him or her that the form is ready to be certified.

NOTE: Keeping your FCC Form 498 updated with the latest contact information is critical to receiving important feedback and information from USAC about your form processing and disbursements.

Call or email us if you have questions.

If you are having difficulty filing a form or you have other questions, you can:

Call us at 1-888-641-8722. We are open from 9:30 am – 4:30 pm EDT Monday through Friday. If you leave a voicemail message outside of these hours, we will call you back the next business day.

 

SLD News – 7/18/14 – Focus: E-rate Modernization Order Section Added to USAC Website

On July 11, the Federal Communications Commission adopted the E-rate Modernization Order that will expand Wi-Fi networks in schools and libraries across America while ensuring that support continues for broadband connectivity. USAC has created a separate section of its website devoted exclusively to this Report and Order. We suggest that you check this section and the other pages relating to the E-rate program often for any newly released documents relating to the Report and Order and for updates to existing ones.

TIP OF THE WEEK: If you are filing an appeal with USAC, be sure to review last week’s SL News Brief for the information you should include in your appeal. Appeals that are missing important details – such as complete and current contact information, the specific decision being appealed, or relevant documentation – are more difficult for USAC to process.

Commitments for Funding Years 2014, 2013, and 2012

Funding Year 2014. USAC will release Funding Year (FY) 2014 Wave 11 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) on July 23. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 1 (Telecommunications Services and Internet Access) requests at all discount levels. As of July 18, FY2014 commitments total just under $1.52 billion.

Funding Year 2013. USAC will release FY2013 Wave 58 FCDLs on July 22 and Wave 59 FCDLs on July 24. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 1 requests at all discount levels. As of July 18, FY2013 commitments total over $2.08 billion.

Funding Year 2012. USAC will release FY2012 Wave 88 FCDLs on July 25. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 2 (Internal Connections and Basic Maintenance) requests at 90 percent and denials at 89 percent and below. As of July 18, FY2012 commitments total just under $2.86 billion.

On the day the FCDLs are mailed, you can check to see if you have a commitment by using USAC’s Automated Search of Commitments tool.

Consultant Registration Numbers

Consultants that assist applicants in filling out the application materials are identified on certain program forms as described below. We are providing more information for applicants on the definition of a consultant and how to report consultant information if required.

What is the definition of a consultant?

A consultant is any non-employee of the entity applying for funding that assists in filling out the application materials for a fee. “Non-employee” includes contractors or others who are employed by the entity on a contract or short-term basis who do not receive a W-2 form from the entity filling out the application. Consultants may be organizations with one or more employees or they may be individuals.

The term “consultant” below refers to the name – whether an organization or an individual – linked to the Consultant Registration Number and entered in the “Consultant Name” field on program forms.

What is a Consultant Registration Number?

A Consultant Registration Number (CRN) is a unique eight-digit identification number assigned by USAC to a specific consultant. Employees of a consultant will not be required to obtain individual CRNs but will use the CRN of the consultant.

If a consultant is assisting an applicant with the application process, the consultant’s CRN is entered in Block 1, Item 7 of the FCC Form 470 and/or Block 1, Item 6g of the FCC Form 471.

How does a consultant obtain a CRN?

To get a CRN, a consultant should call the Client Service Bureau (CSB) at 1-888-203-8100 and be prepared to provide the following consultant information:

  • Consultant Name
  • Consultant Street Address, City, State, and Zip Code
  • Consultant Telephone Number
  • Consultant Fax Number
  • Consultant Email Address

If the consultant has one or more employees, the following information is required for each employee:

  • Employee Name
  • Employee Telephone Number
  • Employee Email Address

CSB will first search by zip code, then by street address, to find out if USAC already has a CRN on file. If so – and if there are no changes to any of the contact information – CSB can provide the CRN over the phone.

If CSB must create a new record, or if there are changes required to an existing record, CSB will request that the changes be sent by fax to 1-888-276-8736 or by email. After the record has been created or updated, CSB can reply to the fax or email and provide the CRN.

How does an applicant find the CRN for its consultant?

If the consultant is completing a form on behalf of the applicant, the consultant can enter the CRN. If the applicant is completing a form, the applicant can obtain the CRN from the consultant or call CSB. CSB can provide the CRN over the telephone as long as the applicant provides enough information for CSB to identify a specific consultant.

  • Consultants and applicants filing online should check after entering the CRN to verify that the correct consultant information is populated in the form.

Where is consultant information located on FCC Form 470 and FCC Form 471?

Consultant information is entered in Block 1, Item 7 of the FCC Form 470 and Block 1, Item 6g of the FCC Form 471. Applicants filing online will enter the CRN, and consultant contact information will populate automatically. If the consultant has employees, those employee names will be populated in a drop-down menu and the applicant can choose the appropriate employee.

Applicants filing on paper must complete all relevant fields.