The latest News and Tip form USAC

TIP OF THE WEEK: If your FY2010 FCDL was dated on or before July 1 and your services started July 1, your Form 486 is due October 29. If you submitted your form online but have not yet certified it, you can do so from the Apply Online page.

Commitments for Funding Years 2010

Funding Year 2010. USAC will release FY2010 Wave 23 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) October 26. This wave will include commitments for approved Priority 2 (Internal Connections and Basic Maintenance) requests at 85% and above. As of October 27, FY2010 commitments total over $1.49 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.

SERVICE PROVIDERS: Special Training Sessions for FY2010 

USAC’s fall service provider training sessions – November 4 in Atlanta, Georgia, and November 9 in Albuquerque, New Mexico – have now gone to waiting lists. USAC will process waiting list requests as space becomes available. If you have a reservation and your plans change, please cancel your reservation to open a space for someone else.

Note that USAC is offering these additional training sessions to provide information to service providers about the Sixth Report and Order (FCC 10-175, released September 28, 2010). These training sessions are being held in addition to the regular service provider training sessions held each spring.

Online registration for both training sessions is available on the fall 2010 training sessions page on the USAC website.

APPLICATION PROCESS: Eligibility

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 Elementary and Secondary Education. USAC has also posted an Eligibility Table for Non-traditional K-12 Students and Facilities 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 last year. 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 be eligible to participate in the program, service providers must file a Form 498, Service Provider Identification Number and 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, and Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections, there are no other eligibility requirements.

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 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 can provide these services even though they are exempt from filing a Form 499. 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 Step 1. Determine Eligibility for applicants and Step 1. Obtain a Service Provider Identification Number for service providers.