News

SLD News 10/25/13 – Focus: Service Substitutions & Release of ESL

 October 25, 2013  

TIP OF THE WEEK: Remember that you can use the View 471 Status tool to track the progress of the review of your FCC Form 471. For a detailed description of this tool, refer to the March 22, 2013 SL News Brief.

Commitments for Funding Years 2013 and 2012

Funding Year 2013. USAC will release Funding Year (FY) 2013 Wave 24 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) October 30. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 1 (Telecommunications Services and Internet Access) requests at all discount levels. As of October 25, FY2013 commitments total just under $1.16 billion and encompass 27,160 of FY2013 applications.

Funding Year 2012. USAC will release FY2012 Wave 66 FCDLs October 31. 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 October 25, FY2012 commitments total over $2.80 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 Eligible Services List Report and Order

On October 22, 2013, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Report and Order (DA 13-2037) releasing the Eligible Services List for FY2014.

Service Substitutions

A service substitution is a change in the products and/or services originally specified in the Item 21 attachment associated with a funding request (FCC Form 471 Block 5). In certain limited circumstances, applicants or service providers may request a service substitution for all or part of a funding request. In some cases, service providers or equipment manufacturers may request a “global” service substitution that would apply to all applicants that listed a particular product or service in the Item 21 attachment.

Applicants and service providers may need to request a service substitution from USAC for a number of reasons. For example:

  • The equipment manufacturer no longer offers the particular piece of equipment listed on the funding request.
  • The particular piece of equipment listed on the funding request may still be available but regular maintenance on that equipment is difficult or impossible to obtain.
  • The needs of the applicant, while still within the scope of the original request, have changed.
  • The applicant wants to change – or has already changed – service providers, and the new service provider offers a different product, service, or configuration than that described in the original request.

Limitations on service substitutions

In order to be approved, a request for a service substitution must meet the following criteria:

  • The substituted products and/or services must have the same functionality (see below) as the products and/or services contained in the original description of services.
  • The requested service substitution must not violate any contract provisions or state or local procurement laws.
  • The requested service substitution, if approved, would not result in an increase in the percentage of ineligible services or functions.
  • The requested service substitution is within the scope of the FCC Form(s) 470, including any Requests for Proposal (RFPs), that formed the basis for the original funding request(s).

What does this mean? In general, a service substitution must fit into the scope of your original funding request and be consistent with that request. The original and the substituted products do not have to match exactly, item for item, but the overall substitution cannot involve a change in category of service or functionality.

  • Assume that the requested service substitution was submitted as a bid response to the original FCC Form 470 and/or RFP. If the substituted products and/or services could have been considered as a valid response to that competitive bidding process, USAC can consider the request.

Note that the cost of the substituted products and/or services can be greater than the cost in the original request. However, USAC will not increase the amount of the funding commitment; the applicant must assume responsibility for any increase in cost. If the service substitution will result in a lower cost, USAC will reduce the funding request appropriately.

Determination of same functionality

The best way to determine if the substituted products and/or services have the same functionality as the originals is to review the functionality of both using the Eligible Services List. The Eligible Services List webpage has both current and archived versions of the list for each funding year. When you are preparing your request, be sure to use the Eligible Services List for the funding year that matches the funding year of the original funding request.

As an example, USAC would look at the following functional categories for its review of an Internal Connections service substitution request for FY2012 (you can see these categories in the column labeled “Function” on pages 12-17 of the FY2012 Eligible Services List):

  • Cabling/Connectors
  • Circuit Cards/Components
  • Data Distribution
  • Data Protection
  • Interfaces, Gateways, Antennas
  • Servers
  • Software
  • Storage Devices
  • Telephone Components
  • Video Components

Some of these functional categories are very limited; others are more extensive. If a service substitution is requested for Internal Connections, USAC would first review the request to verify that the substituted products fall into the same general functional category.

For example, these service substitution requests meet the requirement for same functionality:

  • A network switch for a network router (Function: “Data Distribution”)
  • An Uninterruptible Power Supply for a tape backup (Function: “Data Protection”)
  • A telephone key system for a telephone PBX (Function: “Telephone Components”)

In some cases, service substitutions may be approved even when the functional categories are not identical due to the varying ways in which technology is deployed. For example, an access point is a wireless networking component that is categorized in the Eligible Services List under the function of Data Distribution. Networking cable is categorized under the function of Cabling/Connectors. Yet, since both network cabling and wireless access points can accomplish the same function of connecting network components, USAC can approve a service substitution request to convert from one technology to the other. Thus, an exact match of functional categories, while it can assist review of service substitution requests, is not necessarily required.

However, USAC cannot approve service substitution requests unless the FCC requirements for same functionality are met. For example, a service substitution request that seeks to change a funding commitment for eligible telephone components to a funding commitment for a network router cannot be approved, because core functionality is not the same. A data distribution component is not the same functionality as a voice telephone component.

In a future SL News Brief, we will provide further guidance on service substitutions, including additional examples and deadlines.

 

SLD News 10/18/13 – Focus: SPIN Changes

October 18, 2013  

TIP OF THE WEEK: If you received an email notifying you that your deadline for filing an FCC Form 486 is approaching, review the list of FY2013 FCC Forms 471 included in the email to determine which of your FRNs may need a certified FCC Form 486. Remember that the email was addressed not only to applicants that have not filed their forms, but also to those that have filed but not yet certified their forms.

Commitments for Funding Years 2013, 2012, and 2011

Funding Year 2013. USAC will release Funding Year (FY) 2013 Wave 23 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) October 23. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 1 (Telecommunications Services and Internet Access) requests at all discount levels. As of October 18, FY2013 commitments total over $1.11 billion and encompass 26,408 of FY2013 applications.

Funding Year 2012. USAC will release FY2012 Wave 65 FCDLs October 24. 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 October 18, FY2012 commitments total over $2.77 billion. NOTE: Wave 64 – the FY2012 wave issued on October 17 – was incorrectly identified as Wave 63 in last week’s SL News Brief.

Funding Year 2011. USAC will release FY2011 Wave 103 FCDLs October 25. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority requests at 88 percent and above and denials at 87 percent and below. As of October 18, FY2011 commitments total just under $2.64 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.

SPIN Change Reminders

A SPIN change is a change to the Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN) associated with a specific funding request. (We commonly refer to funding requests by Funding Request Number (FRN), a number assigned by the online system at the time data is entered for a specific FCC Form 471, Block 5.) A SPIN change can be either corrective or operational.

  • A corrective SPIN change can occur when the SPIN associated with an FRN is not correct, generally when the applicant or USAC made a data entry error, a service provider has multiple SPINs and the wrong SPIN was entered, or a change occurred that was not initiated by the applicant (e.g., a merger or acquisition). Corrective SPIN changes can be requested pre- or post-commitment, that is, before or after USAC has issued an FCDL.
  • An operational SPIN change is an actual change from one service provider to another – the result of a deliberate decision by the applicant to change the service provider supplying the services for an FRN. Operational SPIN changes can only be requested post-commitment.

Below are some factors to keep in mind when requesting a SPIN change.

Corrective SPIN changes

If you want to request a change of SPIN because of a data entry error, a merger or acquisition, a bankruptcy, or similar issue that does not require changing the actual service provider, you should refer to the Corrective SPIN Change guidance document on the USAC website.

In your request to correct a SPIN, be sure to provide an explanation of the reason that the correction is needed (e.g., your service provider has many SPINs and you chose the wrong one, you transposed digits resulting in a valid but incorrect SPIN, your service provider was acquired by another service provider).

Operational SPIN changes

Starting with FY2011, applicants requesting a change of service provider must comply with the FCC’s Sixth Report and Order (FCC 10-175), which allows operational SPIN changes only under the following conditions:

  • You have a legitimate reason to change service providers, such as breach of contract or the service provider is unable to perform, AND
  • The newly selected service provider received the next highest point value in the original bid evaluation, assuming there was more than one bidder.

You must provide the following with your request:

  • A statement of the reason(s) you want to change service providers, together with any supporting documentation you can provide. Service provided by a new service provider at a lower cost is not an acceptable reason to change service providers.
  • A statement that the new service provider received the next highest point value in the original bid evaluation or a statement that you did not receive any other bids.

You must meet the following requirements for all operational SPIN changes regardless of funding year:

  • Your request must be allowed under your applicable state and local procurement rules. Your request must contain a statement to that effect.
  • Your request must be allowable under the terms of any contract between you and your original service provider. Again, your request must contain a statement to that effect.
  • You must inform your original service provider of your intent to change service providers. You must include a statement that you have attempted to notify the original service provider.

For more information on requests to change service providers – including the options for submitting requests – you can refer to the Operational SPIN Change guidance document on the USAC website.

SPIN changes due to transition delays

If an applicant is transitioning from one service provider to another over a funding year boundary and there is a delay before the new service provider can start providing service, the applicant can request that the FRN for the new funding year be split in order to continue service with the original service provider until the new service provider is able to provide service.

If this is the case, be sure to include in your request the dates of service and the costs associated with the services provided by each service provider. Note that the total amount of funding for both FRNs cannot exceed the amount approved for the original FRN on the FCC Form 471.

 

SLD News 10/11/13 – Focus: More on Entity Numbers

October 11, 2013  

TIP OF THE WEEK: If you have a commitment from USAC for FY2013 and your services have started, you should be preparing to file an FY2013 FCC Form 486. October 29 is the deadline for filing this form if your service start date is July 1, 2013 and your FCDL is dated on or before July 1.

Commitments for Funding Years 2013 and 2012

Funding Year 2013. USAC will release Funding Year (FY) 2013 Wave 22 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) October 16. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 1 (Telecommunications Services and Internet Access) requests at all discount levels. As of October 11, FY2013 commitments total just under $1.01 billion and encompass 25,682 of FY2013 applications.

Funding Year 2012. USAC will release FY2012 Wave 63 FCDLs October 17. 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 October 11, FY2012 commitments total over $2.77 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.

More on Entity Numbers

In last week’s SL News Brief, we covered basic information on entity numbers. This week we will discuss specific situations where new entity numbers may be required and how to calculate discounts for those entities.

In general, each separate school or library building should have an entity number. However, you should refer to the guidance below to determine whether to request an entity number and, if so, how to calculate the discount for that entity. Remember that you must maintain documentation related to (1) your calculation of student eligibility for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and/or (2) your use of an alternative discount mechanism.

Buildings located on the same campus

If several school or library buildings are located on the same campus – i.e., no public right-of-way crosses between the buildings – and all of the buildings are considered part of that school or library, you do not need a separate entity number for each building.

  • However, if one of the buildings serves multiple entities – for example, a separate cafeteria facility on a high school campus that functions as a central kitchen for all of the schools in the school district – that entity needs its own entity number regardless of whether the buildings are separated by a public right-of-way.
  • If several schools are located in the same building – for example, if a middle school and a high school share a building and they are considered separate schools by their state – each school should have its own entity number.

School or library buildings under construction

A school or library building that is under construction can receive discounted services.

  • If the building is located on an existing campus, follow the guidance above.
  • If the state considers a school or library building under construction to be an existing entity (for example, a new building to house a library that now occupies a different building), the entity number from the original building carries over to the new building. You should update the contact information for the school or library by following the guidance on the USAC website on Entity Numbers.
  • If the state considers the building to be a new school or library, you should call the Client Service Bureau at 1-888-203-8100 or Submit a Question to request a new entity number for that school or library building.

Here are some tips on calculating discounts for new schools or libraries:

  • If the student population of a new school is known, you can use the student counts (the total number of students in the school and the total number of students in the school eligible for NSLP) from that student population to calculate the discount for the new school.
  • If the student population of a new school is not known and the school is associated with a school district, you can use the weighted average discount for the associated school district as the discount for the new school.
  • If the student population of a new school is not known and the school is not associated with a school district – this can include non-public schools and charter schools – you can use a 20 percent discount. You can then update your student counts during the application review process if the student counts are available by that time.
  • The discount for a new library is the average discount (not the weighted average discount) for the public school district in which the library is located. To calculate this average discount, divide the total number of students in the school district eligible for NSLP by the total number of students in the school district, and then use that percentage to find the discount in the discount matrix.

Non-instructional facilities

A non-instructional facility (NIF) is a school building without classrooms or a library building without public areas. (Some school NIFs contain one or more classrooms – see below for more information.) NIFs are eligible for Priority 1 services (Telecommunications Services, Telecommunications, and Internet Access) but are only eligible for Priority 2 services (Internal Connections and Basic Maintenance) if they are necessary for the transport of discounted services to classrooms of a school or to public areas of a library. Note that an administrative office or wing located in a school or library is not considered a NIF but rather part of that school or library building.

Administrative offices that serve multiple schools may be located on the campus of an individual school. However, they are considered NIFs and should have their own entity numbers because they serve more than just the school on whose campus they are located (see above). NIFs can be on property owned by a school district or library, or they may simply be rented space in a building such as a town hall or a commercial building.

  • Examples of school NIFs include – but are not limited to – administrative buildings, school bus barns and garages, cafeteria offices, and facilities associated with athletic activities. In general, school district NIFs use the weighted average discount of their associated school district.
  • Examples of library NIFs include – but are not limited to – administrative buildings, bookmobile garages, interlibrary loan facilities, and library technology centers. Library NIFs use the average discount for the public school district in which they are located (see above).

In some cases, a school facility can be considered a NIF even though it has one or more classrooms. For example, a school district administrative building may have a classroom that is used by a specific group of students or by a population of students that changes from day to day. If a school district NIF has one or more classrooms, the applicant should use the student population of the classroom(s) rather than the weighted average discount of the school district to calculate the NIF’s discount.

  • If the student population is the same from day to day, the applicant uses the student count and NSLP count from that student population to calculate the NIF’s discount.
  • If the student population changes from day to day, the applicant uses the snapshot method to calculate the NIF’s discount. To use the snapshot method, choose a particular day and use the student counts for that day to calculate the discount.

Remember to retain the documentation that supports your discount calculation.

 

SLD News 10/4/13 – Focus: Entity Eligibility

October 4, 2013  

TIP OF THE WEEK: Remember that you can check the status of your FCC Form 471 by using the View 471 Status tool (see below). The status of each of your forms appears at the top of the search results page, followed by a table containing a description of every status.

Commitments for Funding Years 2013 and 2012

Funding Year 2013. USAC will release Funding Year (FY) 2013 Wave 21 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) October 7. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 1 (Telecommunications Services and Internet Access) requests at all discount levels. As of October 7, USAC will have issued over $1 billion in funding commitments on 25,682 applications for FY2013.

Funding Year 2012. USAC will release FY2012 Wave 63 FCDLs October 10. 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 October 4, FY2012 commitments total just under $2.77 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.

FY2013 Funding Commitment Status Update

We are aware that those of you who have not received a commitment decision are anxious to hear from us. We understand and are working hard to get you that decision.

Currently, we are processing and funding only Priority One applications – telecommunications and Internet access. We received 38,500 Priority One applications for FY2013, which is 2,000 more than FY2012. We have processed and committed nearly 25,700 of them for slightly over $1 billion in commitments. Last year at this time, for FY2012, we had processed Priority One applications for $1.2 billion in commitments. Our target is to have at least 90% of all Priority One applications completed and committed by December 31, 2013.

If you have not heard from us, that does NOT mean that there is something wrong with your application. If we have a question or need additional information as we review your application, we will contact you. You can use the Form 471 application status tool to track your application during the PIA review process.

As we mentioned above, we received 38,500 Priority One applications for FY2013 and, unfortunately, all of them cannot be reviewed at the same time. We appreciate your patience and we will do everything we can to get your decision to you as soon as we can.

APPLICATION PROCESS: Entity Numbers

An entity number is a unique identifying number assigned by USAC to each entity that (1) is eligible to receive discounts under the E-rate program and/or (2) files program forms.

An eligible entity can be an individual school, a library outlet/branch, a school district, a library system, or a non-instructional facility (NIF) such as an administrative office. Entity numbers for eligible entities can appear in Block 1 of a program form and/or in a Form 471 Block 4 worksheet that lists the recipients of service for a funding request.

Here are some examples of entities that have entity numbers but that are not eligible for (or do not request) discounted services:

  • A state procurement agency that files an FCC Form 470 to open a competitive bidding process. The agency enters its entity number in Item 3 of the form.
  • A city or town that controls the budget of a library and pays the bills for the library. The city or town enters its entity number in Block 1 of all appropriate program forms.
  • A consortium leader that is not itself eligible for discounts but applies on behalf of its consortium members. The consortium leader enters its entity number in Block 1 of all appropriate program forms.
  • A school district, if the district is not applying for funding itself but an applicant (e.g., a consortium) is completing one or more FCC Form 471 Block 4 worksheets featuring the district’s individual schools. The applicant enters the school district entity number wherever it is requested in Block 4 worksheet entries. (Note that a library enters the entity number of the school district in which the library is located.)
  • A library system, if the system is not applying for funding itself but an applicant (e.g., a consortium) is completing one or more FCC Form 471 Block 4 worksheets for the system’s outlets/branches. The applicant enters the library system entity number wherever it is requested in Block 4 worksheet entries.

Billed Entity Numbers (BENs)

If an entity pays a service provider for products and/or services delivered to eligible schools and/or libraries, that entity is called a billed entity. USAC assigns that entity a Billed Entity Number or BEN. There is no visible difference between a number assigned as a BEN and a number assigned as an entity number, and the terms “entity number” and “BEN” are now generally used interchangeably. (An eligible entity that pays the bills and also requests discounts does not need two numbers.)

A billed entity is not required to be – but may be – an eligible entity. For example, an ineligible entity such as town or city government may be assigned a BEN if it pays the bills to service providers for eligible services on behalf of eligible entities.

Locating an entity number

You can search for BEN information from the Search Tools web page on the USAC website. You can limit your search by entity type (school district, school, library, or all types), and then search by one of the following:

  • Full or partial name (remember to add a “%” sign after a partial name)
  • Zip code
  • State/territory
  • Entity number

Your search may return a single entity or a list of entities. For specific information about an entity, click on the Billed Entity Number in the search results.

Requesting an entity number

To request an entity number, contact our Client Service Bureau (CSB) either through Submit a Question (choose “Entity Number” from the Topic Inquiry list and then “I need an entity number for a new entity”) or by calling 1-888-203-8100.

CSB needs specific information to create a new entity. For assistance in preparing your request for an entity number or for more information about entity numbers, refer to the Entity Numbers web page on the USAC website.

  • NOTE: Multiple buildings on the same campus – i.e., you do not have to cross a public right-of-way to get from one building to another – do not need separate entity numbers if they serve the same student population. For example, a school bus garage and an administrative building on a high school campus that serve only the students in that high school do not need separate entity numbers. However, if the administrative building serves other schools in the school district not located on that campus – or the school bus garage also serves students from the junior high school located several blocks away – those facilities would need separate entity numbers.

If you are requesting three or more entity numbers, please use Submit a Question to submit your request. Be sure to include all of the information listed on the Entity Numbers web page. You can also fax your request to CSB at 1-888-276-8736. Please request entity numbers as soon as you know you will need them.

Correcting the information on an entity number

Contact CSB as described above to update any information associated with an entity number that is incorrect or that has changed. Before you call, be sure you have the entity number of the entity you want to update handy along with the information to be corrected.

Please note that, when CSB changes the entry in the database, any future forms you file will reflect the new information. You will not see a change in forms that you have already filed.

  • NOTE: To change information on a form that has already been filed, follow the guidance in the Updating Contact Information web page on the USAC website. Remember to identify the form or forms to be changed by including the six- or seven-digit application number assigned by USAC to each form.

In a future issue of the SL News Brief, we will provide additional guidance on specific issues involving entity numbers.

 

SLD News 9/27/13 – Focus: Eligibility

 September 27, 2013  

TIP OF THE WEEK: September 30 is the deadline to submit a request to extend the deadline for delivery and installation of FY2012 non-recurring services. If you need to file a service delivery extension request, be sure not to miss this deadline.

Commitments for Funding Years 2013 and 2012

Funding Year 2013. USAC will release Funding Year (FY) 2013 Wave 20 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) October 2. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 1 (Telecommunications Services and Internet Access) requests at all discount levels. As of September 27, FY2013 commitments total over $785 million and encompass 24,535 of FY2013 applications.

Funding Year 2012. USAC will release FY2012 Wave 62 FCDLs October 3. 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 September 27, FY2012 commitments total over $2.76 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.

APPLICATION PROCESS: Eligibility

As applicants and service providers begin preparations for the FY2014 filing window, we will be providing informational articles in upcoming SL News Briefs about each step in the application process. The titles of each of these articles will start with the words “APPLICATION PROCESS” and will provide timely information to help you prepare for a particular step. This first article deals with eligibility issues for applicants and service providers.

To participate in the Schools and Libraries Program, potential applicants, recipients of service, and service providers must first determine if they are eligible. Below are some points to consider about eligibility.

Schools

To be eligible for E-rate discounts, a school:

  • must provide elementary and/or secondary education as determined under state law.
  • must not operate as a for-profit business.
  • must not have an endowment exceeding $50 million.

In general, public schools meet these requirements. Other types of schools – such as non-public schools, charter schools, and diocesan schools – should check with the state department of education in their state to see if the educational services they provide fall within that state’s definition of elementary and/or secondary education.

In some states, Head Start, pre-kindergarten, adult education, and juvenile justice students and/or facilities may fall under the state definition of elementary or secondary education. For more information, review USAC’s guidance on Non-traditional Education. USAC has also posted an Eligibility Table for Non-traditional Education that contains current information from each state on the eligibility of these students and facilities.

  • NOTE: Every two years, USAC sends letters to state departments of education asking for official confirmation of the status of these types of entities and other matters related to eligibility. The status in the Eligibility Table reflects the information provided to USAC. If you feel the information in this table is incorrect, your state department of education may be able to provide you with more information.

Also, Educational Service Agencies (ESAs) are eligible for discounts in some states. ESAs are regional agencies authorized by state statute that provide services or programs to local educational agencies such as individual schools and school districts. ESAs may go by different names in different states, and the programs and services provided by ESAs vary from state to state. You can refer to the Eligibility Table for Educational Service Agencies for information specific to your state.

Libraries

To be eligible for E-rate discounts, a library:

  • must be eligible for assistance from a state library administrative agency under the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).
  • must not operate as a for-profit business.
  • must have a budget completely separate from any schools.

In general, public libraries meet these requirements. Other types of libraries – such as academic libraries, research libraries, or private libraries – should check with the state library agency in their state to see if they are eligible for assistance under LSTA. Note that they are not required to have received such assistance; they must only be eligible to receive it. As with schools, eligibility requirements may vary from state to state.

Service providers

To participate in the program, service providers must file an FCC Form 498, Service Provider Identification Number and General Contact Information Form, with USAC and receive a Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN). For providers of Internet Access other than Interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), Internal Connections, Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections, and – beginning with FY2011, Telecommunications – there are no other eligibility requirements. (For a description of Telecommunications – which is distinct from Telecommunications Services – refer to the FY2013 Eligible Services List.)

Providers of Telecommunications Services must provide those services on a common carriage basis. Such companies are therefore often referred to as “common carriers.” Generally, providers of Telecommunications Services and providers of Interconnected VoIP must complete FCC Form 499-A, Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet, and – in general – must contribute to the Universal Service Fund.

  • You can check the status of a company providing these services using the SPIN Contact Search Tool on the USAC website. After you enter either (1) at least the first three letters of a service provider’s name and a percent sign (%) immediately following those letters or (2) a SPIN, click “Next” to view the results of your search. In general, in the column marked “Form 499 Filer,” you will see a “Y” if USAC has determined that the service provider is eligible to provide Telecommunications Services and/or Interconnected VoIP services under that SPIN.
  • Note that some service providers, although exempt from filing an FCC Form 499, can provide these services. You can refer to the text above your search results for more information about these providers. If you still have questions, contact the Client Service Bureau at 1-888-203-8100.

For more information on eligibility, refer to APPLICANTS: Before You Begin and SERVICE PROVIDERS: Before You Begin on the USAC website.

 
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