SLD News – 3/1/13 Focus: Tips for 2013 Applicants

FY2013 WINDOW COUNTDOWN

Days to window close 13
FCC Forms 471 filed to date 14,322
Online Item 21 attachments filed to date 32,199

TIP OF THE WEEK: If you are applying for both Priority 1 and Priority 2 services, remember to file them on separate FCC Forms 471. Featuring funding requests for services in both priorities on the same form can delay funding decisions for the Priority 1 services.

Commitments for Funding Years 2012 and 2011

Funding Year 2012. USAC will release Funding Year (FY) 2012 Wave 33 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) March 5. 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 March 1, FY2012 commitments total over $1.91 billion.

Funding Year 2011. USAC will release FY2011 Wave 83 FCDLs March 6. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 2 requests at 88 percent and above and denials at 87 percent and below. As of March 1, FY2011 commitments total over $2.54 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.

Top Ten Tips for FY2013 Applicants

1. Get an FCC Registration Number (FCC RN) if you don’t yet have one. FCC RNs are required for Block 1 entities (Billed Entities). They are not required for Block 4 entities (recipients of service). If you do not have an FCC RN, you can obtain one from the Commission Registration System (CORES) section of the FCC website.

2. Review your entity name, number, address, and category in the Search for BEN Information tool and change any incorrect information. The Client Service Bureau (CSB) can process changes to entity number information. You can contact CSB by phone at 1-888-203-8100. However, if you have more than two entities to update, please gather the information requested in the Entity Numbers guidance document and either Submit a Question to provide the information (choose “Entity Number” from the Topic Inquiry menu and “Other” on the subsequent screen) or fax the information to 1-888-276-8736.

3. Request entity numbers for any new entities. You will need an entity number for the Billed Entity in Block 1 and for each recipient of service in Block 4. Contact CSB as above with requests for new entity numbers.

4. Locate your NCES or FSCS codes. NCES codes identify individual schools by state, school district, and school; FSCS codes identify libraries by state, library system, and outlet/branch. You can search for your code starting with the Data Tools page of the NCES website, or you can contact your state department of education or state library agency for assistance.

If you cannot find your code when you are ready to complete your FCC Form 471, you will be allowed to bypass that entry. However, school entities without NCES codes will not show up in an entity search for “all the schools in a school district” and must be entered manually. You may also be asked for this information during the review of your application if it is missing.

5. Locate the Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN) for each of your service providers. Service providers file an FCC Form 498 to obtain a SPIN and provide or update their contact and banking information. You enter the SPIN for the service provider in Item 13 of each Block 5 funding request. If your service provider has multiple SPINs, check to make sure you are using the correct one.

You can search for SPINs using the Search for SPIN Information tool on the USAC website.

  • If you are not sure of the exact legal name of your service provider, entering the first few letters of the name followed by a percent sign (%) on the search page will return more results.
  • The tool now has a “Doing Business As” column to help you identify the correct service provider if there has been a merger or acquisition.
  • You can use the contact information in the tool to contact the service provider if there are multiple results and you are not sure which SPIN to use.

During the last week of the window, USAC will engage an “interim SPIN” (143666666) to allow applicants to complete a funding request for any service provider that has not yet received a SPIN. Applicants can then provide the correct SPIN during application review.

6. Check the FCC Form 470 application number you intend to cite on each funding request. The FCC Form 470 you cite must be the “establishing FCC Form 470,” i.e., the form that formed the basis for the competitive bidding process that led to the selection of the service provider and services on the funding request.

If you have not yet certified your FCC Form 470, we suggest that you do so now. (See below for online and paper certification guidance.)

7. Review the information requested in Block 2 about high-speed Internet access services. If you are not sure of the connection speed(s) you will have, you can ask your service provider or provide your best estimate. You must provide an entry in each field of Block 2, so enter “0” (zero) if no buildings are served at a particular speed.

8a. FOR LIBRARIES – have the required student counts ready for your Block 4 worksheet(s). The discount for a library is calculated by dividing the total number of students eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) in the public school district in which the library is located by the total number of students in that school district. Many states post this information on a website, or you can ask your public school district.

8b. FOR SCHOOLS – have your demographic information ready for your Block 4 worksheet(s). For each Block 4 recipient of service, you must indicate if one or more of the following apply:

9. Certify your forms. From the Apply Online page, you can certify your FCC Form 470 and/or your FCC Form 471 if you have not already done so. To certify a form you filed online, click the Certify Complete button in the appropriate column and:

  • Click on Electronic Certification if you have a Personal Identification Number (PIN). The certification page will appear. Enter your PIN, check the box to affirm your compliance, and click on the Done button. You should print out a copy of the page that follows.
  • Click on Paper Certification if you do not have or cannot locate your PIN. Print a copy of the certification page that appears, sign and date it, and send it to USAC by delivery service or US Mail. You should keep a copy of your submission and proof of postmark or delivery.

10. Submit your Item 21 attachment. The Item 21 attachment is a window filing requirement. For assistance in preparing and submitting your Item 21 attachment, refer to the Item 21 Attachments guidance document on the USAC website and the February 22 SL News Brief.

NOTE: If you intend to file your Item 21 attachment online, you must click “Submit” on the last page after you have entered all of your information. Clicking “Save & Exit” saves – but does not submit – your Item 21 attachment.

Contact the Client Service Bureau (CSB) if you have questions.

You can call CSB at (888) 203-8100, Submit a Question online, or fax your question to (888) 276-8736. Note that CSB will be open extended hours on the following days:

  • Saturday, March 9 from 9:00 AM through 6:00 PM EST
  • Sunday, March 10 from 9:00 AM through 6:00 PM EDT
  • Thursday, March 14 from 8:00 AM through 11:59 PM EDT.

FRN Balance Verifications

Each year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) conducts an audit of USAC. As part of this audit, the firm performing the audit emails a number of balance verifications (“confirmations”) to applicants and service providers. The purpose of these confirmations is to verify that the balances reported by USAC on specific Funding Request Numbers (FRNs) match the balances in the records of the applicants and service providers.

Each confirmation features the balance reported by USAC on a specific FRN as of December 31, 2012. Applicants and service providers should review their records and respond by either

  • agreeing with the balance featured on the confirmation or
  • if it is different, noting the balance as of December 31, 2012 on their records.

The confirmations are being sent from the domain dpgeorge.com. We ask that you check your email filters for messages from this domain name, and respond promptly to any confirmations you receive.