SLD News 8/16/13 – Focus: Filing Form 486

 August 16, 2013 

TIP OF THE WEEK: If you are preparing to file an FCC Form 486, review the information below. Remember that you cannot file this form for a Funding Request Number (FRN) until USAC has issued a commitment for that FRN.

Commitments for Funding Years 2013, 2012, and 2011

Funding Year 2013. USAC will release Funding Year (FY) 2013 Wave 14 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) August 21. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 1 (Telecommunications Services and Internet Access) requests at all discount levels. As of August 16, FY2013 commitments total just under $374 million and encompass 19,520 of FY2013 applications.

Funding Year 2012. USAC will release FY2012 Wave 56 FCDLs August 22. 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 August 16, FY2012 commitments total over $2.72 billion.

Funding Year 2011. USAC will release FY2011 Wave 100 FCDLs August 20. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 2 requests at 88 percent and above and denials at 87 percent and below. As of August 16, FY2011 commitments total over $2.62 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 Online Invoicing

Work on the new online FCC Form 472 (BEAR Form) is in the final phases of testing. We expect the online form to be available within the next two weeks.

If you need assistance filing a paper BEAR Form, refer to the FCC Form 472 Instructions posted on the Forms page or call the Client Service Bureau (CSB) at 1-888-203-8100. Remember that the July 2013 PDF version of the form now has fill-in, print-out capability.

Tips for Filing FCC Form 486 Online

In the June 7 SL News Brief we discussed the FCC Form 486, Receipt of Service Confirmation Form. This form notifies USAC that services have started and invoices for those services can be paid. It also indicates that the applicant’s technology plan – if required – has been approved by a USAC-certified Technology Plan Approver and provides the status of compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA).

Below are some online filing tips for FCC Form 486; note that the first four tips also apply to forms filed on paper.

Use the information from your FCDL to file your form.

The Billed Entity Number (BEN), funding year, FCC Form 471 application number, and FRN are all associated in USAC’s system. If you enter data on a line in FCC Form 486 Block 3 (Service Information) that is inconsistent with the information associated in our system, you will receive an error message. If you are filing on paper, we will contact you and request a correction or additional information in order to complete the data entry of your form.

We suggest that you have the FUNDING COMMITMENT REPORT section of your FCDL handy when you are completing your FCC Form 486. If you use the information from that report, you should be able to enter your FRNs in Block 3 of the FCC Form 486 without encountering an error message.

Include FRNs from different FY2013 FCC Forms 471 on one FCC Form 486.

The FCC Form 486 is specific to a funding year and a Billed Entity. If you filed several FY2013 FCC Forms 471 and you have commitments for FRNs that appeared on more than one of those forms, you can file one FCC Form 486 for FY2013 and list all of the committed FRNs on that one form.

Note, however, that if you have recently received an FCDL for several FRNs from FY2012 and another FCDL for several FRNs from FY2013, you must file two separate FCC Forms 486, one for each funding year.

In Item 5, identify the contact person that should get program letters.

USAC issues certain letters to the contact person in Item 5 of the FCC Form 486. Specifically, USAC will issue both the applicant version of the FCC Form 486 Notification Letter and the Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) Form Notification Letter to that contact person. Make sure that the contact person you identify on the FCC Form 486 is also the person that should receive those letters.

Complete Item 8 appropriately.

Beginning with FY2011, technology plans are not required for Priority 1 services. Because the technology plan certification on the FCC Form 486 has not yet been updated, applicants filing FY2013 FCC Forms 486 featuring funding requests for Priority 1 services only should complete Block 4, Item 8 of the FCC Form 486 as follows:

  • If you are filing online using the expert version (see below), check the box next to Item 8, choose “Other” from the dropdown menu, and enter “NONE” in the resulting text box.
  • If you are filing online using the interview version (see below), check the box next to Item 8 and click on “I agree,” then choose “Other” from the dropdown menu and click “Go,” then type “NONE” in the resulting text box.
  • If you are filing on paper, check the box next to Item 8 and write “NONE” in the space below the Item 8 certification.

Follow these online filing navigation tips.

We strongly suggest that you use Internet Explorer 6.0 or above to file an FCC Form 486 online. Other web browsers may produce inconsistent results or cause errors.

Here are a few more tips related to online navigation:

  • Clear your Internet cache and temporary Internet files. These may contain data that could replace or add to the data you enter.
  • Allow popups. Many of the warning and error messages that help you through the form are formatted as popups.
  • Enable cookies. This preserves certain information that makes subsequent filings easier and also can help USAC diagnose problems.
  • Use the “Tab” key to move from one field to the next on a page. You can also use your mouse to click in the fields where you want to enter information.
  • Don’t use your browser’s “Forward” and “Back” buttons. Instead, use the navigation buttons in the form.
  • Don’t open multiple tabs in the browser window you are using to file your form. You may encounter difficulties if you do so.
  • Enter your Block 4 certifications before you enter your Block 3 FRN information. After you complete Block 2, the online form navigates to the certifications in Block 4, then to the FRN information in Block 3, Item 7. This allows the system to check your certifications against the category of service for each FRN you enter and give you an error message if appropriate (e.g., if you indicate in Item 11 that CIPA doesn’t apply and then try to enter an Internal Connections FRN).

For more information and tips on online filing, refer to the Tips and Troubleshooting document posted on the USAC website.

Try the expert version of the online FCC Form 486 if you have trouble with the interview version.

Data you enter in an online FCC Form 486 is saved in USAC’s database and can be accessed through the Apply Online page by both the expert version and the interview version of the form (the “Create Form 486” button and “Form 486 Interview” button respectively). In the expert version, you enter information directly into the form, while the interview version asks you a series of questions and then enters your answers in the appropriate form fields. If you wish, you can start with one version of the form, save your work before you push the Submit button, and later complete the form using the other version.

  • To continue an incomplete form using the expert version, click on the “Continue Incomplete” button in the Form 486 column of the Apply Online page.
  • To continue an incomplete form using the interview version, click on the “Form 486 Interview” button in the Form 486 column of the Apply Online page.
  • Remember that you must have your FCC Form 486 application number and your security code to access an incomplete form. We suggest that you use your browser’s “Print” function to print the page that contains these numbers after you complete Block 1 of the form online.

Pay attention to any popups or warning messages that occur.

The online system has built-in popups to notify you of errors and provide certain other helpful information. This allows you to make necessary corrections before you submit your form. The system also populates some information in the form based on information you have already entered.

Many applicants that file forms on paper fail to provide all necessary entries or include entries that are inconsistent. They must then wait for USAC to contact them because the missing or inconsistent information prevents USAC from completing data entry. Moreover, if USAC cannot reach the applicant to get the correct information, the form may be rejected.

If you are having difficulty with an FCC Form 486 online or on paper, you can Submit a Question or call the Client Service Bureau at 1-888-203-8100 to get help.