USAC/SLD News and Tips – July 8, 2011

TIP OF THE WEEK: If your technology plan for FY2011 has not yet been approved and you are having trouble locating an approver, you can request USAC’s assistance by email or through Submit a Question. To use Submit a Question, choose “Technology Planning” from the Topic Inquiry menu and then “I can’t find my Tech Plan Approver on your website.”

Commitments for Funding Years 2011, 2010, and 2009

Funding Year 2011. USAC will release FY2011 Wave 4 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) July 12. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 1 (Telecommunications Services and Internet Access) requests at all discount levels. As of July 8, FY2011 commitments total over $506 million.

Funding Year 2010. USAC will release FY2010 Wave 57 FCDLs July 13. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 2 (Internal Connections and Basic Maintenance) requests at 81% and above and denials at 79% and below. As of July 8, FY2010 commitments total over $2.59 billion.

Funding Year 2009. USAC will release FY2009 Wave 89 FCDLs July 11. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 2 requests at 77% and above and denials at 76% and below. As of July 8, FY2009 commitments total over $2.86 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 Applicant Training Registration Continues

Some of the fall training sessions still have openings, and we continue to work the waiting lists for those that are full. To register online and to locate information on reserving a room at a conference hotel, go to the Training and Presentations page on the USAC website and click on the link for the training session you wish to attend. You can continue to send questions, cancellations, or requests for information about the fall applicant training to USAC Training.

FY2011 Out-of-window Letters

Next week, USAC will issue about 230 letters notifying applicants that their Forms 471 are considered out of window. Out-of-window letters are issued to three groups of applications:

  • Forms 471 filed on paper and postmarked after March 24, 2011, the close of the application filing window.
  • Forms 471 filed online by March 24 at 11:59 pm EDT and certified online or on paper after May 17, the extended certification deadline.
  • Forms 471 filed online after March 24 at 11:59 pm EDT and later certified online or on paper.

Out-of-window letters are not issued for forms started online that are in an “Incomplete” or “Complete” status. You can check the status of a Form 471 by using the Form 471 Application Status tool or the Form 471 Application Display tool on the USAC website. 

Form 486 Notification Letters

Next week, USAC will begin issuing Form 486 Notification Letters for FY2011.  These letters are issued to applicants and service providers after Forms 486 have been certified by applicants and successfully processed by USAC. Invoices cannot be paid for an FRN until USAC issues a Form 486 Notification Letter for that FRN.

USAC issues Form 486 Notification Letters once each week for all Forms 486 successfully processed since the last batch of letters was issued.

  • Each applicant letter summarizes the information for all FRNs on a single Form 486.
  • Each service provider letter summarizes the information for all FRNs that feature that service provider’s SPIN on all Forms 486. If a service provider has more than one SPIN, USAC will issue one service provider letter for each SPIN.
  • You can view a sample of the applicant letter and a sample of the service provider letter on the USAC website.

USAC must sometimes adjust the service start date reported on the Form 486 to comply with program rules. For example:

  • If an applicant must be compliant with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) but does not come into compliance until after the service start date reported on the Form 486, USAC will adjust the service start date to the date the applicant came into compliance with CIPA.
  • If an applicant must have an approved technology plan but the technology plan is not approved until after the service start date reported on the Form 486, USAC will adjust the service start date to the date the technology plan was approved.

If USAC adjusts a service start date, the adjusted date will appear on the Form 486 Notification Letter with an asterisk and an explanation of the reason for the adjustment.

TPA review of Form 486

USAC may review a Form 486 for compliance with the program requirements for technology planning before the form can be successfully processed. We refer to this review as a Technology Plan Approval (TPA) review. If a Form 486 undergoes TPA review, USAC does not issue a Form 486 Notification Letter until all compliance issues have been resolved. In addition, USAC may have to adjust the reported service start date as described above.

If the technology plan covering the requested services meets program requirements and USAC can verify the approval of the technology plan, the Form 486 passes TPA review and moves to a certified status. If not, one of the following can occur:

  1. The Form 486 does not pass TPA review but USAC can still process FRNs for services that do not require a technology plan.
  2. The Form 486 fails TPA review and USAC issues a Form 486 Rejection Letter.
  3. The applicant cancels the Form 486.

Each of these situations is discussed below.

1. FRNs that contain services for which a technology plan is not required

Starting with FY2011, Priority 1 (P1) services do not require a technology plan. For the discussion below, we refer to FRNs that contain only P1 services – and therefore do not require a technology plan – as “P1 FRNs.” Similarly, FRNs containing Priority 2 (P2) services – which do require a technology plan – are referred to as “P2 FRNs.”

NOTE: If you are filing a Form 486 for a funding year before FY2011, you should refer to the technology plan requirements for that funding year to determine which services must be covered by a technology plan. For funding years before FY2011, FRNs containing services requiring a technology plan would be treated the same way as the “P2 FRNs” in the discussion below.

  • If the Form 486 will not pass TPA review but it features one or more P1 FRNs, USAC will give the applicant the option to remove the P2 FRNs. If the P2 FRNs are removed, USAC can then process the Form 486.
  • If an FRN contains both P1 and P2 services, the applicant has two options: (1) separate the commingled services into a P1 FRN and a P2 FRN and remove the P2 FRN from the Form 486 or (2) entirely remove the P2 services from the FRN, essentially cancelling the P2 services. After the P2 services are removed, USAC can then process the Form 486. In either case, the applicant may be required to provide a cost allocation to identify the P2 services.
  • If it is possible to correct the problem that prevented the Form 486 from passing TPA review and the applicant does so (e.g., the applicant’s technology plan is later approved by a USAC-certified technology plan approver), the applicant can then submit another Form 486 featuring the P2 FRNs.

2. Form 486 Rejection Letter

If the Form 486 fails TPA review, USAC will reject the Form 486 and notify the applicant with a Form 486 Rejection Letter. (USAC does not issue a copy of this letter to the service provider.) The Form 486 Rejection Report attached to the letter provides the reason(s) for the rejection and also identifies any P1 FRNs.

  • Applicants will have 20 days from the date of the Form 486 Rejection Letter to certify a new Form 486 featuring only the P1 FRNs. NOTE: This generally occurs when either (1) the applicant chose not to exercise one of the options mentioned in Item 1 above or (2) USAC was unable to contact the applicant during the TPA review.
  • If it is possible to correct the problem that caused USAC to reject the Form 486 and the applicant does so, the applicant can then submit a new Form 486 for the P2 FRNs.

3. Form 486 Cancellation Letter

If USAC – in consultation with the applicant – cancels a Form 486, USAC will issue a Form 486 Cancellation Letter to the applicant stating that the form has been canceled. USAC will also issue a letter to each SPIN referenced on an FRN from that Form 486. As above, the applicant can later submit a new Form 486.