USAC News and Tips for the week of 9/30/2011

TIP OF THE WEEK: If you will not be able to get your invoicing for FY2010 recurring services completed by the October 28 deadline, request an invoice deadline extension (see below). Plan to get your request submitted as soon as possible.

Commitments for Funding Years 2011 and 2010

Funding Year 2011. USAC will release FY2011 Wave 16 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) October 4. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 1 (Telecommunications Services and Internet Access) requests at all discount levels. As of September 30, FY2011 commitments total over $958 million.

Funding Year 2010. USAC will release FY2010 Wave 69 FCDLs October 5. This wave can include commitments for approved Priority 2 (Internal Connections and Basic Maintenance) requests at all discount levels. As of September 30, FY2010 commitments total just under $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.

Fall Training Update

Don’t forget to make a room reservation if you want to stay at the conference hotel for one of the fall training sessions. Rooms may not be available or may be more expensive after the deadlines listed below. 

Hotel Deadline for Hotel Reservations
 Newark Liberty International Airport Marriott  CLOSED
 Hilton Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport Mall of America  CLOSED
 Hilton Portland & Executive Tower  CLOSED*
 Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel  CLOSED
 Sheraton New Orleans Hotel  October 5
 Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel  October 11
 Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport  October 17

 

*Will process reservations based on availability

To get hotel information, go to the Training Sessions and Presentations page on the USAC website. If you have questions or wish to cancel your reservation, please email USACtraining.

FY2012 Eligible Services List Released

On September 28th, the FCC released the Eligible Services List (ESL) for Funding Year 2012. In the ESL Public Notice, the FCC proposed minor changes and other edits to the ESL to provide clarifications or additional information only and did not change the eligibility status of any services in the E-rate program. By this order, the FCC adopts most of the clarifications proposed in the ESL Public Notice with some minor modifications as described in Order DA 11-1600.

October Deadlines Approaching for FY2010 Invoices and FY2011 Forms 486

There are two program deadlines at the end of the month of October that affect both applicants and service providers. Below we discuss both of these deadlines and the actions you must take if you miss them.

  • October 28, 2011 is the deadline for applicants and service providers to invoice USAC for FY2010 recurring services. This deadline applies to you if the date on your Form 486 Notification Letter is on or before June 30, 2011.
  • October 31, 2011 is the deadline for applicants to file a Form 486 for a Funding Request Number (FRN) for FY2011. This deadline applies to you if your service start date is July 1, 2011 and the date of your FCDL is on or before July 1, 2011.

October 28 deadline for invoice forms for FY2010 recurring services

Recurring services are services delivered continuously or at regular intervals during the funding year. Examples of recurring services include basic telephone service, monthly Internet access, and basic maintenance of internal connections. Recurring services must be delivered during the funding year – that is, between July 1 and the following June 30.

The deadline for invoices for recurring services is calculated as follows:

  • 120 days after the last date to receive services (which is generally June 30 of the funding year) or
  • 120 days after the date of the Form 486 Notification Letter

whichever is later.

If your FRN is for non-recurring services or the date on your Form 486 Notification Letter is after June 30, your invoicing deadline is later than October 28. (For example, the deadline for delivery and installation of non-recurring services is generally September 30 following the close of the funding year rather than June 30.)

This October 28 deadline applies to both invoice forms:

  • The Form 472, Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) Form, which is filed by the applicant and approved by the service provider after the applicant has paid for the services in full.
  • The Form 474Service Provider Invoice (SPI) Form, which is filed by the service provider after the service provider has billed the applicant for the applicant’s non-discount share of the cost of the services.

If the date on your Form 486 Notification Letter is on or before June 30, 2011, you must postmark your invoice or file it online on or before October 28. If you miss this deadline, you must apply for and receive an invoice deadline extension before you can submit your invoice. This applies to both applicants filing BEAR Forms and service providers filing SPI Forms.

 – Tips for applicants filing BEAR Forms

  • Gather your customer bills and do a reconciliation before filing a BEAR Form. Before you file your last BEAR Form for FY2010 recurring services, make sure that you are not invoicing USAC twice for the same service period or skipping a service period. Remember that you are invoicing USAC for discounts on the cost of services that were approved by USAC on an FCDL and actually received.
  • Make sure your service providers have filed a Form 473, Service Provider Annual Certification (SPAC) Form, for FY2010. USAC will not pay invoices for a funding year unless a SPAC Form is on file for that year. You can use the Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN) Contact Search tool to determine if your service provider has filed this form for FY2010.
  • Allow sufficient time for your service provider(s) to review and approve your forms. This is especially important if you are requesting reimbursement for an entire year of service on a single BEAR Form. If you’re not sure how long your service provider’s review and approval process will take, ask your service provider.
  • Ask your service providers if they know how to use their online access to USAC’s E-file System. Service providers use the E-file System for a number of actions, including reviewing and approving BEAR Forms. If your service providers do not use the E-file System, suggest that they call USAC’s Billing, Collections and Disbursement Department at 1-888-641-8722 (choose the “Form 498” option) for assistance.
  • File your BEAR Form online. The online system allows you to file your information quickly and easily, populates some information automatically based on your entries, and warns you in many cases if you enter incorrect or inconsistent information. Before you file online, make sure that your service providers can review and approve BEAR Forms online.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to file your FY2010 BEAR Forms. Applicants should be filing their final BEAR Forms for FY2010 recurring services now.

 – Tips for service providers approving BEAR Forms

  • Tell your customers what your requirements are for reviewing and approving BEAR Forms. If you communicate up front with applicants about the amount of time and any documentation you need to review and approve BEAR Forms, you will save time and reduce frustration for them and for you.
  • Get online access to review and approve BEAR Forms. Service providers that filed a new or revised Form 498 after October 2005 should already have online access to USAC’s E-File System. If you don’t have online access or you don’t know how to use your login information, call USAC’s Billing, Collections and Disbursement Department at 1-888-641-8722 (choose the “Form 498” option) and ask for assistance.
  • Check online once each week for pending BEAR Forms. Although USAC will send you an email message when an applicant files a BEAR Form online, you do not need to wait to receive the email before you review a form. If you log in to the E-file System and check for pending BEAR Forms once each week, you will ensure that you won’t miss any forms.

 – Tips for service providers filing SPI Forms

  • Gather your customer bills and do a reconciliation before filing a SPI Form. Make sure before you file your last SPI Form for FY2010 recurring services that you are not invoicing USAC twice for the same service period or skipping a service period. Remember that you are invoicing USAC for discounts on the cost of services that were approved by USAC on an FCDL and then actually delivered.
  • Make sure you have filed a SPAC Form for FY2010. USAC will not pay invoices for a funding year unless a SPAC Form is on file for that funding year. You can use the SPIN Contact Search tool to determine if you filed this form with USAC for a funding year.
  • File your SPI Form online or electronically. The online system allows you to file your information quickly and easily. You do not need access to the E-file System to file SPI Forms online, and you do not have to make any certifications on the SPI Form because you have already made your certifications on your SPAC Form. If you want to file SPI Forms electronically, review the electronic filing guidance on the USAC website for assistance.

October 31 deadline for Form 486

In general, applicants file Form 486, Receipt of Service Confirmation Form, to notify USAC that they have started receiving services approved for the funding year. The deadline for filing a Form 486 is calculated as follows:

  • 120 days after the service start date reported on the Form 486 or
  • 120 days after the date of the FCDL

whichever is later.

If the service start date on an FRN is after July 1, 2011 and/or the date on your FCDL is after July 1, 2011, the deadline to file your Form 486 for that FRN is later than October 31.

If it appears to USAC that the applicant has missed the deadline for filing a Form 486, USAC will send the applicant a Form 486 Urgent Reminder Letter as a reminder. USAC uses the date of the FCDL and the service start date reported on your Form 471 to calculate the date that the reminder letter should be sent. (Note that the actual service start date may be different from the service start date reported on your Form 471.)

USAC will issue this reminder letter to you, the applicant, if:

  • You have not postmarked a Form 486 on paper or filed and certified a Form 486 online by the 120-day deadline or
  • You have filed a Form 486 online but have not certified that form either online or on paper by the 120-day deadline.

You will have 20 days from the date of the reminder letter to postmark a paper Form 486, file and certify an online Form 486, or certify a Form 486 already filed online.

If you miss the 120-day deadline AND the 20-day reminder letter deadline, your Form 486 will be considered late. USAC will adjust the service start date on a late Form 486 to the date 120 days before the postmark date (for paper forms) or the certification date (for forms filed online and certified online or on paper).

You should file your Form 486 as soon as possible if you have missed the deadline. If USAC adjusts your service start date as described above, you will not be able to receive discounts on services delivered before the adjusted service start date.

Remember that you can calculate deadlines for program forms, requests, and other activities by using the Deadlines Tool on the USAC website.