News and Tips from USAC – 9/2/2011

TIP OF THE WEEK: Continue to monitor the preferred mode of contact you indicated on your Form 471. The PIA review process continues – and the summer contact period ends soon – so it is important for you to be available to respond to questions about your application.

Commitments for Funding Years 2011 and 2010

Funding Year 2011. USAC will release FY2011 Wave 12 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) September 7. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 1 (Telecommunications Services and Internet Access) requests at all discount levels. As of September 2, FY2011 commitments total over $788 million.

Funding Year 2010. USAC will release FY2010 Wave 65 FCDLs September 8. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 2 (Internal Connections and Basic Maintenance) requests at 81% and above. As of September 2, FY2010 commitments total over $2.59 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.

Update on Fall Applicant Training Sessions

Registration is still open for the training sessions in Minneapolis MN, and Orlando FL. To register for a training session or to get hotel information, go to the Training Sessions and Presentations page on the USAC website.

Remember that you must also make a room reservation if you want to stay at the conference hotel. The table below shows the last day to make a reservation at the negotiated conference room rate. Rooms may not be available – or may be more expensive – if you try to make a reservation after these dates. 

Hotel Deadline for Hotel Reservations
 Renaissance Arlington Capital View  September 5
 Newark Liberty International Airport Marriott  September 21
 Hilton Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport Mall of America  September 19
 Hilton Portland & Executive Tower  September 21
 Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel  September 26
 Sheraton New Orleans Hotel  October 5
 Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel  October 11
 Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport  October 17

If you have questions or wish to cancel your reservation, please email USAC.

Form 500 and Form 500 Notification Letters

Applicants file Form 500, Adjustment to Funding Commitment and Modification to Receipt of Service Confirmation, to request one or more of the following changes to a Funding Request Number (FRN):

  • Change the service start date on the FRN
  • Change the contract expiration date on the FRN
  • Reduce the funding amount on the FRN
  • Cancel the FRN

If you file a Form 500, USAC will review your form for compliance with program rules. USAC will then issue a Form 500 Notification Letter to both you and your service provider reporting the change(s) you requested and the action USAC has taken in response.

Following is a short discussion of each of these four changes.

Change the service start date.

Applicants enter a service start date for an FRN in Item 19 on the Form 471. However, USAC uses the service start date reported for the FRN on the Form 486 as the date that service actually started.

Sometimes discounted services do not begin on the date originally reported on the Form 486. Also, applicants may report a later service start date only to find that services can begin earlier than planned. As long as the change is in compliance with program rules, applicants can use the Form 500 to notify USAC that the service start date has changed.

NOTE: During the review of a Form 486, USAC may adjust the reported service start date to comply with program rules. For example, you may certify a Form 486 for an Internal Connections FRN that features a service start date of July 1, 2011. However, during its review of your form, USAC determines that your technology plan was not approved until September 1, 2011. USAC will adjust your service start date for that Internal Connections FRN to September 1 and will not pay discounts on services delivered under that FRN before that date.

If USAC adjusts your service start date to comply with program rules, you cannot use a Form 500 to reset the service start date to a date earlier than the adjusted service start date.

Change the contract expiration date.

Sometimes, services can be delivered and installed after the expiration date of the original contract. This generally happens in the following situations:

  • A contract for non-recurring services expires on June 30 but the applicant realizes that, under program rules, the service provider actually has until September 30 to deliver and install those non-recurring services. 
  • A contract for non-recurring services expires on or before September 30 and the applicant submits – and USAC grants – a service delivery deadline extension request for additional time beyond the September 30 deadline to complete delivery and installation of those services. Note that a service delivery extension request must be received or postmarked on or before the last date to receive service.

If an applicant wants to extend a contract, remember that (1) the extension must be allowable under the terms of the contract and (2) the applicant and service provider must agree to extend the contract.

After USAC has processed the Form 500 and updated the contract expiration date in its files, invoices can be paid for delivery and installation completed on or before the revised contract expiration date. Remember, however, that the delivery and installation must also occur on or before the original (or extended) service delivery deadline.

As a reminder, invoices must be postmarked no later than:

  • 120 days after the last date to receive service, or
  • 120 days after the date of the Form 486 Notification Letter, whichever is later.

If you are extending a contract, you may also need to submit an invoice deadline extension request for additional time to invoice USAC for these services at some point in the future.

Reduce the funding on the FRN.

An applicant may ask USAC to reduce the committed amount on an FRN. This can happen for a number of reasons, including:

  • The cost of the service was less than expected and funds remain on the FRN after USAC has been invoiced for all approved services and the invoices paid.
  • Fewer products and/or services were actually delivered and installed than were originally requested and funds remain on the FRN after USAC has been invoiced and the invoices paid.
  • Some of the products or services on the FRN were ineligible, and the applicant wants to reduce the committed amount to reflect only the eligible services.

Applicants do not have to provide a reason on the Form 500 for a reduction request, but they should maintain supporting documentation in their files.

Please note, however, that applicants should not reduce funding commitments until they are sure that they will not need those funds. If the service provider is filing Service Provider Invoice Forms 474 for an FRN, the applicant should verify with the service provider that all Forms 474 have been submitted to USAC and paid before filing a Form 500.

Once USAC reviews and accepts the request to reduce funding, the funding cannot be returned to the FRN. Instead, it becomes available for USAC to commit to other FRNs for that funding year.

Cancel the FRN.

If a project will not be undertaken or services will not be received on an FRN, the applicant can request that the FRN be cancelled. A cancellation can only occur if USAC has not paid out any funds on the FRN. If funds have been paid, the applicant should request a reduction – that is, that the committed amount be reduced to the amount of funds already paid – rather than a cancellation.

As above, the applicant should maintain documentation that supports the request. Once the FRN is cancelled it cannot be reinstated.

Additional tips.

  • Carefully check the data you enter on the form. USAC cannot undo a reduction or cancellation after a Form 500 has been reviewed and processed.
  • Use the current version of the Form 500, dated April 2007 in the lower right-hand corner.
  • If you have more than one FRN for which you would like to request Form 500 changes, include a completed page 2 for each FRN.
  • Make sure your contact information is correct. The Client Service Bureau will use this information to contact you if there are missing fields or discrepancies that cannot be resolved and give you an opportunity to make corrections.