USAC News and the Tip of the Week from October 29, 2010

TIP OF THE WEEK: If you missed or will miss one or both of the October program deadlines, read and follow the guidance below. There is still time to file an invoice for FY2009 recurring services or a Form 486 for FY2010 as long as you take the necessary action(s).

Commitments for Funding Years 2010 and 2009

Funding Year 2010. USAC will release FY2010 Wave 24 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) November 2. This wave will include commitments for approved Priority 2 (Internal Connections and Basic Maintenance) requests at 85% and above. As of October 29, FY2010 commitments total over $1.52 billion.

Funding Year 2009. USAC will release FY2009 Wave 71 FCDLs November 3. This wave will include commitments for approved Priority 2 requests at 77% and above and denials at 76% and below. As of October 29, FY2009 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.

SERVICE PROVIDERS: Special Training Sessions for FY2010 

USAC has accepted all registrants for the fall service provider training sessions – November 4 in Atlanta, Georgia, and November 9 in Albuquerque, New Mexico – from the waiting lists and a few more slots are still 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.

Update on FY2011 Form 471 Application Filing Window

The opening and closing dates for the FY2011 filing window have not yet been established. However, for planning purposes, we would like to share the following information:

  • We expect the FY2011 filing window to open in early January 2011.
  • The window will remain open for about the same number of days as in the past, which means that we expect the window to close in mid-March 2011.

We will provide updates as more information becomes available. When the exact window opening and closing dates have been established, we will send out our annual Letter to the Field with these dates and other information helpful for applicants filing Forms 470 and 471 for FY2011.

Actions to Take If You Missed One or Both October Deadlines

In past issues of the SL News Brief, we have discussed two program deadlines that occur each year in late October:

  • Yesterday, October 28, 2010 was the deadline for applicants and service providers to invoice USAC for FY2009 recurring services. This deadline applies to you if the date of your Form 486 Notification Letter is on or before June 30, 2010.
  • Today, October 29, 2010 is the deadline for applicants to file a Form 486 for a Funding Request Number (FRN) for FY2010. This deadline applies to you if your service start date is July 1, 2010 and the date of your FCDL is on or before July 1, 2010.

In general, if you missed one or both of these deadlines, you can still take actions to successfully file and certify your forms without penalty. Below we discuss several scenarios and the actions you should take for each.

INVOICING DEADLINE – October 28

If an applicant filed a Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) Form 472 online for FY2009 recurring services on or before October 28 and the service provider has not yet approved the form:

Unless you have received an invoicing deadline extension, your BEAR Form will be rejected. In order for your BEAR Form to be considered as timely filed, it must be submitted by the deadline. To be considered as timely filed, a BEAR Form must:

  • Be filed on paper, contain all four pages (including the service provider signature on page 4), and be postmarked by the deadline OR
  • Be filed by the applicant online AND approved by the service provider online by the deadline.

If USAC has already granted an invoice deadline extension request, your service provider can still approve your invoice. You can verify your extended date by referring to the FRN Extension Table. Choose FY2009 (Year 12), click “Next>>,” and search for your FRN(s) on the results page.

  • If an FRN has been extended, you have until the extended deadline to file BEAR Forms. However, we suggest that you complete your invoicing as soon as possible.
  • If an FRN has not been extended, you must submit an invoice deadline extension request and wait for USAC to approve it before you can file a BEAR Form.

If an applicant filed a BEAR Form online for FY2009 recurring services on or before October 28 and the service provider approved the form after October 28:

The BEAR Form will be rejected. You must request and receive approval for an invoice deadline extension before you can file another BEAR Form.

If an applicant or service provider filed an invoice that has been rejected:

You must request and receive approval for an invoice deadline extension before you can file another invoice because the invoicing deadline has passed. This applies both to service providers that file Service Provider Invoice (SPI) Forms 474 and to applicants that file BEAR Forms.

If an applicant or service provider did not file an invoice (or the final invoice for the funding year) before the invoicing deadline:

If you did not complete your invoicing process by the October 28 deadline and your FRN has not been extended, you must request and receive approval for an invoice deadline extension before you can file another invoice. This applies both to service providers that file Service Provider Invoice (SPI) Forms 474 and to applicants that file BEAR Forms.

FORM 486 DEADLINE – October 29

As a reminder, you can use the Deadlines Tool on the USAC website to calculate program deadlines, including your Form 486 deadline. For example, you can use the tool to verify that your FY2010 Form 486 deadline is NOT October 29, 2010 if:

  • Your FCDL is dated after July 1, 2010, OR
  • USAC issues a commitment on a Revised FCDL dated after July 1, 2010 for an FRN that was originally denied in full, OR
  • Your service start date is after July 1, 2010.

Within the next several weeks, USAC will issue the first Form 486 Urgent Reminder Letters for FY2010. This first batch of letters will be mailed to all FY2010 applicants for FRNs that meet the criteria below:

  • USAC issued an FCDL dated on or before July 1, 2010 with a positive commitment, AND
  • The service start date reported on Form 471 Item 19 was July 1, 2010 AND
  • A Form 486 has not been successfully submitted and certified for that FRN.

USAC will continue to issue a letter for each additional FY2010 FRN after its estimated Form 486 deadline passes. For the purpose of issuing the Form 486 Urgent Reminder Letter, USAC estimates the Form 486 deadline as 120 days after the FCDL date or 120 days after the service start date reported on the Form 471, whichever is later.

Applicants will have 20 days from the date of the Form 486 Urgent Reminder Letter to file and certify a Form 486 online or on paper. For any FRN on a Form 486 received or postmarked after that date, USAC will reset the service start date to the date 120 days before the Form 486 was certified online or on paper.

If you didn’t file your Form 486 by the deadline:

If you missed your FY2010 Form 486 deadline, you must file and certify your form by the deadline in the Form 486 Urgent Reminder Letter.

  • If you file and certify your Form 486 after today but before the deadline in the Form 486 Urgent Reminder Letter, your service start date will not be adjusted as long as you have not violated any program rules that necessitate an adjustment.
  • Note that if you have certified a Form 486 before USAC runs its estimated-deadline query, USAC will not issue a Form 486 Urgent Reminder Letter for any FRNs on that Form 486.

If you filed your Form 486 online by the deadline but have not yet certified it:

You can certify your Form 486 online or on paper. Note that you must certify your Form 486 by the deadline in the Form 486 Urgent Reminder Letter to avoid an adjustment to your service start date.

If you reported July 1, 2010 as the service start date on your Form 471 but that is no longer the correct service start date:

Use the Deadlines Tool to calculate your Form 486 deadline, and then file and certify your form before that deadline has passed. Note that USAC will issue only one Form 486 Urgent Reminder Letter for an FRN if you have not certified a Form 486 by your estimated deadline.

As a service provider, if you see from the Data Retrieval Tool that one of your customers has not yet filed a Form 486 (i.e., there is no entry in the Form 486 Service Start Date field):

Although you cannot file a Form 486 on behalf of an applicant, you can certainly contact the applicant and remind him or her of the Form 486 deadline. Remember that USAC will not pay invoices for an FRN unless a Form 486 has been successfully processed for that FRN.