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USAC's Latest News Archive gives you access to all announcements related to the universal service programs as they were made throughout the years.

8/18/2014New Online 54.314 Certification Launched


USAC is pleased to announce the launch of a new, user-friendly online submission of the 54.314 Annual Certification. The new interface simplifies the certification process.

For assistance with this online certification, please review the online filing guides for State Certification and Self-Use Certification. Details about the certification requirements can be found on the Certification Requirements page. For a recording of the Section 54.314 Certification Online Filing Webinar, please visit the High Cost Program's Online Learning Library.

8/18/2014Rural Areas List Updated


Per the Federal Communications Commission's Rural Areas List Order (DA 14-1042 ), the Eligible Rural Areas Search tool on the USAC website has been updated to reflect the latest decennial census and most recent nationwide Core Based Statistical Area (CBSA) designations, as defined by the Office of Management and Budget.

The Rural Health Care Program’s definition of "rural area" has not changed, but some program participants that were previously determined to be rural may become non-rural as a result of the update to the Rural Areas List used to populate the Eligible Rural Areas Search tool.

Refer to the August 6, 2014 Latest News article "FCC Issues Order Updating Rural Areas List," for information about the impact of the update to the Rural Areas List on HCPs. For questions about eligibility or rurality, contact the RHC Help Desk by email or by phone at (800) 453-1546 by choosing option 2 and then 1.

8/15/2014Canceled: Aug. 20 NLAD Industry Webinar, Bi-Weekly Schedule Starting Sep. 3


The NLAD Industry Webinar scheduled for Wednesday, August 20, 2014 has been canceled. We apologize for the inconvenience and look forward to seeing you at the next NLAD Industry Webinar on August 27.

NLAD Industry Webinars Presented Bi-Weekly Starting September 3
Beginning on September 3, the NLAD Industry Webinars will be presented every other week. The full schedule for September and October is available on the NLAD Industry Webinars page of the Lifeline Program website.

Questions about NLAD
If you have any questions about NLAD, contact us via email or (877) 524-1325.

8/15/2014News Brief Issued


The 08/15/14 issue of the News Brief is now available. Receive E-rate Program tips, deadline reminders, and answers to your questions in this weekly newsletter. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

8/15/2014This Week’s Updates to NLAD Web Pages



For the week of August 11 

  • There were no updates this week.
NLAD-related website updates from prior weeks:

What is the purpose of this Latest News post?

The purpose of this post is to provide information about website updates related to NLAD. Each Friday, USAC will update this post with any new website additions that were made during the week to the NLAD section of the Lifeline Program portion of the USAC website. This list will date back three months from the most recent post.

Last Updated: August 8

8/13/2014NLAD Outages Due to System Maintenance: Saturday, August 16 and Wednesday, August 20


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable due to monthly system maintenance on Saturday, August 16, from 2:00 AM to 6:00 AM EDT. The NLAD pre-production and production environments will not be available for use during this time. For a full calendar of scheduled maintenance, visit the Maintenance Schedule page on the Lifeline Program website.

NLAD will also be unavailable due to system maintenance on Wednesday, August 20, from 9:00 PM to 11:59 PM EDT. The NLAD pre-production and production environments will not be available for use during this time.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

8/13/2014Apply Online Outage Due to System Maintenance: Friday, August 15


The Apply Online page, including Submit a Question, online forms, and most search tools will be unavailable from 9:00-11:59 PM EDT Friday, August 15, for system maintenance. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, and search for certain forms online. We apologize for any inconvenience.

8/13/2014FCC Releases E-rate Modernization Order Staff Report and Online Maps of Fiber Connectivity


On August 12, 2014, the FCC issued Public Notice DA 14-1177 that releases two items, a staff report and online maps of fiber connectivity, designed to provide a concise view of a portion of the large amount of data in the E-rate Modernization proceeding. This is consistent with the Commission’s efforts in this proceeding to provide open, user-friendly data to all parties.

8/12/2014Rescheduled to August 27: HCF Program Quarterly Webinar for Individual HCPs


This month's Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program quarterly webinar has been rescheduled to Wednesday, August 27, 2014. The webinar was originally scheduled for August 13.

We apologize for the inconvenience and look forward to seeing you at the webinar later this month. We will send a reminder email with the agenda one week in advance.

Visit the HCF Program Quarterly Webinar for Individual HCPs information page to view more information about this event and sign up.

Need Help?
For event-related assistance, contact RHC Help Desk. For information about joining the event, visit the HCF Program Quarterly Webinar for Individual HCPs page.

8/12/2014Special Edition News Brief - Highlights of the E-rate Modernization Order


The 08/12/14 Special Edition issue of the News Brief is now available. Receive E-rate Program tips, deadline reminders, and answers to your questions in this weekly newsletter. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

8/11/2014E-File Outage Due to System Maintenance: Thursday, August 14


USAC's E-File system, including the Rural Health Care Program’s My Portal, will be unavailable Thursday, August 14, from 9:00-11:59 PM EDT, for system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for contributors, service providers, or participants in the High Cost, Lifeline, Rural Health Care, and Schools and Libraries programs. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, and search for certain forms online. We apologize for any inconvenience.

8/7/2014My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance: Friday, August 8


The Rural Health Care Program’s My Portal will be unavailable Friday, August 8, from 5:00-7:00 PM EDT, for system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for health care providers or service providers. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, and search for certain forms online. We apologize for any inconvenience.

8/7/2014FCC Issues Public Notice on the Draft Eligible Services List for FY2015


On August 4, 2014, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Public Notice (DA 14-1130) establishing the comment period for the Funding Year 2015 Eligible Services List.

Comments on the draft Eligible Services List, which is attached to the Public Notice, are due to the FCC on or before September 3, 2014. Reply comments are due to the FCC on or before September 18, 2014. For information on filing comments with the FCC, please refer to the Public Notice.

This proceeding is limited to determining what specific services are eligible under the FCC’s current rules; it is not intended to be a vehicle for changing any eligibility rules.

8/6/2014FCC Issues Order Updating Rural Areas List


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a Rural Areas List Order (DA 14-1042) announcing an update to the Rural Areas List. This update reflects the latest decennial census and most recent nationwide Core Based Statistical Area (CBSA) designations, as defined by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The Rural Health Care (RHC) Program’s definition of "rural area" has not changed, but some program participants that were previously determined to be rural may become non-rural as a result of the update to the Rural Areas List used to populate the Eligible Rural Areas Search tool.

The FCC recognizes that impacted health care providers (HCPs) play an important role in delivering health care to medically-underserved communities, and that they will need time to address the implications of the status change in their business operations. For this reason, the FCC will grant a limited waiver of the rural eligibility requirement for HCPs that have already received an eligibility determination for the RHC Program and whose status changes from rural to non-rural as a result of updating the Rural Areas List. This waiver will temporarily allow those HCPs to seek funding for the remainder of the funding year that the update was made and the following funding year as they transition to the new status. For example, formerly rural sites that are determined to be non-rural after USAC updates the Rural Areas List with the 2010 census data and CBSA data in Funding Year (FY) 2014 will be eligible to seek support for the remainder of FY2014 (until June 30, 2015) and the following funding year, FY2015 (from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016).

Refer to the table below to learn more about the impact of the update to the Rural Areas List on HCPs. HCPs that have had their status change to non-rural as a result of the update will be informed by email.

Individual HCP Applicants

To determine program eligibility:
  • Applicants that were previously determined to be rural and had their status change to non-rural as a result of the update will be considered rural and can seek funding for the remainder of FY2014 and the following funding year, FY2015. 
  • Applicants that received a multi-year funding commitment before the Rural Areas List update and had their status change from rural to non-rural as a result of the update will be considered rural for the duration of the commitment. Applicants that have sought but have not yet received a multi-year funding commitment before the Rural Areas List update and had their status change from rural to non-rural as a result of the update can receive funding as rural for the term of the multi-year commitment.

Consortia Applicants

To calculate the distribution of rural and non-rural sites participating in a consortium:
  • Member HCPs that received a funding commitment as part of a consortium before the Rural Areas List update and had their status change from rural to non-rural as a result of the update will be considered rural for the remainder of FY2014 and the following funding year, FY2015.
  • Member HCPs that have not sought a funding commitment before the Rural Areas List update and had their status change from rural to non-rural as a result of the update will be considered non-rural.
  • Member HCPs that received a multi-year funding commitment as a Pilot Program or Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program consortium member and had their status change from rural to non-rural as a result of the Rural Areas List update will be considered rural until the expiration of the funding commitment.
  • Non-rural Pilot Program sites that were grandfathered by the Healthcare Connect Fund Order (FCC 12-150) may continue to receive support as long as they meet the terms outlined in the order. 

New Applicants

Applicants who are new to the RHC Program after the posting of the updated Rural Areas List will have their rural or non-rural status determined by referencing the updated list.

The Rural Areas List will be updated within 60 days of the release of the Rural Areas List Order to reflect the 2010 decennial census data and most recent OMB CBSA designations, and will be updated as necessary when new data and designations are released in the future.

For questions about eligibility or rurality, contact the RHC Help Desk by email or by phone at (800) 453-1546 by choosing option 2 and then 2.

8/4/2014Monthly Updates on Progress Towards Annual Funding Cap


The Rural Health Care Program has an annual cap of $400 million in total support available for telecommunications and broadband funding for the Telecommunications and Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) programs. As part of the total funding cap, there is also a $150 million cap for upfront payments and multi-year commitments. Requests for funding for both the Telecommunications and HCF programs may be submitted beginning during the initial funding request filing period, March 1 – May 30 prior to the beginning of the funding year, and through the end of funding year. USAC will process all requests until funding is exhausted.

In order to keep you informed about progress towards reaching the funding caps for Funding Year (FY) 2013 and FY2014, RHC Program staff will continue to update this funding cap progress report. Estimated commitments are based on HCP funding requests, and are subject to change after USAC review of forms.

$400 million Cap for Total RHC Program Funding

FY2013

FY2014

Total Commitment Requests Received

$250,105,860

$35,798,733

Total Commitment Made

$103,529,478

$650,806


Commitment Requests Received (Telecom Program)

$147,594,402

$24,666,794


Commitments Made (Telecom Program)

$82,050,012

$431,532


Commitment Requests Received (HCF Program – Consortia)

$77,436,333

$7,592,548


Commitments Made (HCF Program – Consortia)

$12,686,507

$219,274


Commitment Requests Received (HCF Program – Individual HCPs)

$25,075,124

$3,539,391


Commitments Made (HCF Program – Individual HCPs)

$8,792,958

$0



$150 million Cap for Upfront Payments and Multi-year Commitments

FY2013

FY2014

Total Commitment Requests Received

$80,672,345

$10,437,185

Total Commitment Made

$16,875,915

$215,991


Total Commitment Requests Received (Consortia)

$70,111,029

$7,532,033


Total Commitment Made (Consortia)

$12,436,456

$215,991


Total Commitment Requests Received (Individual HCPs)

$10,561,316

$2,905,152


Total Commitment Made (Individual HCPs)

$4,439,458

$0


Note: All data for estimated commitments and commitments made are through July 31, 2014.

7/31/2014My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance: Thursday, July 31


The My Portal system will be unavailable from 5:00-7:00 PM EDT Thursday, July 31, due to system maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.

7/30/2014Webinar on August 13: Online Filing of Annual 54.314 Use Certification


The High Cost Program's Annual "Use Certification" pursuant to Section 54.314 is due to USAC and the FCC October 1, 2014.

Join USAC on August 13, 2014, for a webinar about the new online filing system, which enables certifications to be filed online.

7/23/2014FCC Adopts Landmark E-rate Modernization Order


The Federal Communications Commission adopted an E-rate Modernization Order that will expand Wi-Fi networks in schools and libraries across America. The new rules are the next major step in a comprehensive modernization of the E-rate Program, the first such effort since the program’s creation 18 years ago. The program increases focus on the largest and most urgent need—closing the Wi-Fi gap—while transitioning support away from legacy technologies to 21st Century broadband connectivity, ensuring E-rate Program money is spent smartly, and improving program administration. The reform will expand Wi-Fi to more than 10 million students in 2015 alone.

For more information, read the FCC's press release, or read the FCC's quick fact sheet.

7/22/2014Process Update: Duplicate Subscribers Who Wish To Be De-Enrolled


This message serves as an update to the duplicate resolution process update sent on July 15. Please use the clarified message below to de-enroll duplicate subscribers during the 35-day selection period.

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Currently, USAC is undergoing the process of resolving duplicate claims of Lifeline Program benefits. Subscribers who were identified during the NLAD loading process as having multiple Lifeline Program benefits were sent letters on a state by state basis set forth by USAC. See USAC's Duplicate Resolution webpage.

Once a subscriber receives the letter from USAC, he/she has 35 days from the date of the letter to select a single Lifeline Program service provider. During this duplicate resolution letter period, NLAD does not allow changes to be made to the subscriber’s information, including de-enrolling the subscriber from NLAD.

We have received complaints that subscribers have asked to be de-enrolled from their Lifeline Program benefit with a service provider during the 35 day letter period, during which they cannot be de-enrolled from NLAD.

To effectuate subscriber requests, we direct carriers to undertake the following process, EFFECTIVE July 29, 2014:

1.    If a subscriber approaches a carrier and asks to be de-enrolled from the Lifeline Program during his/her 35 day period, the carrier must de-enroll that subscriber within the carrier’s system and cease provision of Lifeline Program-supported service to that individual at that time.

2.    The carrier must keep a record of the subscriber’s request to be de-enrolled and the subsequent de-enrollment.

3.    Once the 35 day letter period expires for that particular subscriber, the carrier must de-enroll the subscriber from NLAD and enter as the de-enrollment date, the date that the subscriber was de-enrolled from their Lifeline Program benefit.

4.    The carrier must keep records documenting the de-enrollment taken for the subscriber pursuant to this guidance. Carrier records should make reference to this USAC guidance as authorizing these actions for audit purposes.

For example, a subscriber in Arkansas received his letter on June 20, 2014. The day on which the subscriber’s record is unfrozen is August 7, 2014. (See USAC's Duplicate Resolution webpage)

1.    He requests de-enrollment on July 1.

2.    Carrier must de-enroll him from his Lifeline Program benefit on July 1, and maintain a record that he asked to be de-enrolled while duplicate resolution letter period was pending

3.    Carrier must go into NLAD on August 7, 2014 and de-enroll the subscriber, entering the “de-enroll date” as July 1, (i.e. the date the carrier de-enrolled him from the Lifeline Program).


Carriers must keep a record of this entry and the use of these guidelines as justification for entering a de-enroll date prior to the end of the duplicate resolution letter period.

7/18/2014Duplicate Resolution: Subscribers Within the Duplicate Address List


During the NLAD loading process, Lifeline Program subscribers who reside at the same address were identified as potential "household duplicates." Since the initial loading took place, carriers have indicated that they have obtained household worksheets for some of the subscribers in the Duplicate Address List. carriers have also asked if they can attempt to obtain Household Worksheets for those subscribers on the Duplicate Address List who do not have one completed yet.

Effective July 18, 2014, we will allow carriers to update existing subscriber records with an Independent Economic Household (IEH) flag on the carrier's Duplicate Address List in those cases where the carrier has already obtained a household worksheet. carriers may also attempt to obtain Household Worksheets for additional subscribers on the carrier’s Duplicate Address List and update the IEH flag accordingly.

Because these subscribers are in the Duplicate Address List, NLAD will not allow carriers to check the IEH flag unless the subscriber is first de-enrolled.

To update the IEH flag, carriers must take the following steps:

  1. De-enroll the subscriber from NLAD. This function is available in the "De-enroll Subscriber" section of NLAD by selecting the "De-enroll Type" of "Duplication Resolution" in the drop down menu.
  2. Re-enroll the subscriber into NLAD and check the IEH flag.
  3. Carriers must keep records of those subscribers de-enrolled and re-enrolled under this guidance.

Carriers are not required to gather new certification forms or again examine proof of eligibility for the subscribers that they are de-enrolling and immediately re-enrolling pursuant to this guidance. For this reason, carriers may retain the service initiation date listed for the subscriber that they had entered during the NLAD loading process.

We remind carriers that in providing household worksheets to subscribers, the communication sent to subscribers must comply with the requirements of paragraph 78 of the Lifeline Reform Order.

Carriers must also explain to subscribers who have more than one Lifeline Program beneficiary within a single household, that the subscribers within such a household must talk amongst each other and determine which subscriber will retain the Lifeline Program benefit with that subscriber's carrier.

Questions about NLAD
If you have any questions, email us or call (877) 524-1325.

7/18/2014NLAD Outage Due to Monthly System Maintenance: Saturday, July 19


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable due to monthly system maintenance on Saturday, July 19, from 2:00 AM to 6:00 AM EDT.

The NLAD pre-production and production environments will not be available for use during this time.

We apologize for any inconvenience. For a full calendar of scheduled maintenance, visit the Maintenance Schedule page on the Lifeline Program website.

7/16/2014Website Update: New NLAD Maintenance Page Includes Release Notes


As a result of carrier feedback during the weekly industry webinars, USAC has begun posting NLAD release notes to the USAC website. Because of this new addition, the name of the NLAD "Outage Schedule" page has changed to "Maintenance Schedule" to more accurately reflect the information that can be found on that page.

NLAD maintenance takes place on a regular basis. This maintenance can include deployment of a new version of the system to make system changes or upgrades, or scheduled maintenance (typically completed on the third Saturday of each month).

The table on the Maintenance Schedule page outlines all 2014 dates for NLAD maintenance, which may or may not include taking the system offline. If a new version of the system was deployed, you will find a link to the release notes for that deployment in the "Notes" column of the table.

7/16/2014Submit Comments on HCF Program Annual Reporting Requirement


The FCC seeks comment on the annual report data collection proposals to measure the progress of consortia participating in the Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program and on how to best obtain information for measuring performance goals:

Performance Goal

Proposed Data Collection

Increase access to broadband for health care providers

  • Extent to which program participants subscribe to higher levels of broadband over time;
  • Participation in the HCF Program, relative to the universe of eligible participants; and
  • Bandwidths obtained by different types of health care providers (HCPs) and whether those bandwidths are sufficient for their needs.

Specific data points include:

  • Anticipated increases in bandwidth or service level upgrades for HCPs on their networks and whether service agreements allow for such increases;
  • The average bandwidth obtained per HCP site and price paid per megabyte, categorized by HCP type;
  • Potential growth of the network categorized by number and type of HCPs;
  • The number of outages and duration of time when service in unavailable, to the extent that data is already being collected; and
  • The types of technologies consortia use to receive service (e.g., fiber, coaxial cable, copper, wireless, or satellite.

Foster the development and deployment of broadband health care networks

  • The extent to which eligible HCPs participating the HCF Program are connected to other HCPs through broadband health care networks;
  • The reach of broadband health care networks supported by the RHC Program, including connections to those networks by eligible and non-eligible HCP sites; and
  • How program participants use their broadband connections to deliver health care, including whether and to what extend HCPs are engaging in telemedicine, exchanging electronic health records (EHRs), or participating in health information exchanges, remote training, and other telehealth applications.

Maximize the cost-effectiveness of the HCF Program

  • The cost of administering the program as compared to funds disbursed to program participants;
  • The prices and speeds of the broadband connections supported by the HCF Program; and
  • The number and nature of all responsive bids received through the competitive bidding process, as well as an explanation of how each winning bid was chosen.

In addition to the proposed collections listed above, the FCC welcomes comments on other data points that would be most useful in measuring performance goals for the HCF Program, especially quantitative data that can be collected through My Portal. The FCC is also interested in hearing about how easily HCPs or consortium leaders can provide the proposed data, and how to minimize any burden imposed on filers.

To read the complete public notice and submit comments, view Public Notice DA 14-853 for comments regarding the HCF Program consortium annual report. Follow the instructions on page 3, or view the Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) Guide to submit your comments.

7/16/2014My Portal Monthly Software Update


The Rural Health Care (RHC) Program deploys software updates to improve usability and functionality in My Portal, the RHC Program's online application management system.

These updates include features that will expedite the application review process and help applicants maintain Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program compliance. Many enhancements are based on feedback from applicants.

Telecommunications Program Updates

Document Tree Bug Resolved
All folders in the document tree are now expandable.

Contract Expiration Date
Funding Commitment Letters (FCL) associated with a contract will now show the contract expiration date.

View Information Requests in New Tab
A new tab called, “All Information Requests” shows all information requests for the HCPs for which a user has access. Use the “Status” dropdown to sort information requests by status. There are three status options: “Replied,” “Expired,” and “Pending.” Pending information requests are listed first, in ascending order of the response deadline.

Select Buttons to Populate HCP Circuit Start and End Location Addresses
The Circuit Start Location and Circuit Termination Location are located on FCC Form 466, Lines 26 and 27.

The HCP location as shown on Block 1 of the FCC Form 465 (Description of Services Requested and Certification Form) will populate with either the circuit start (FCC Form 466, Line 26) or the circuit termination location (FCC Form 466, Line 27) by selecting the appropriate radio button. The corresponding address is also required, and must be typed into the form.

Find Urban Rate Information
Urban rate information for Funding Year 2014, which is required for Line 41 of the FCC Form 466 (Monthly Urban Rate), is now available on the Urban Rates Search page of the USAC website.

Service Providers Updates
All invoicing screens will now consistently display the correct amount available for invoicing.

7/16/2014Apply Online Outage Due to System Maintenance: Friday, July 18


The Apply Online page, including Submit a Question, online forms, and most search tools will be unavailable from 9:00-11:59 PM EDT Friday, July 18, for system maintenance. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, and search for certain forms online.

7/15/2014FCC Form 690 Due July 31, 2014


Carriers receiving Mobility Fund support must complete and certify FCC Form 690 by July 31, 2014. To complete the form online, please use USAC’s E-file system. The user guide and an FCC Form 690 upload template are available on the High Cost Program forms page.

More Information
If you have questions about filing the FCC Form 690, contact HCLI Questions. For help with the E-File system, contact USAC Customer Operations at (888) 641-8722, or contact us via email.

7/14/2014New Online Interface of FCC Form 499 Launched


USAC is pleased to announce the launch of a new, user-friendly online version of the FCC Form 499-A, the annual Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet. The new interface simplifies the registration and revenue reporting process.

An overview video of the new online FCC Form 499-A interface is available on our website.

7/14/2014NLAD Outage Due to System Maintenance: Wednesday, July 16


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable due to scheduled system maintenance and enhancements on Wednesday, July 16, from 9:00 PM to 11:59 PM EDT.

The NLAD pre-production and production environments will not be available for use during this time. Both the NLAD Access Portal (NAP) and API will be unavailable.

We apologize for any inconvenience. For a full calendar of scheduled maintenance, visit the Outage Schedule page on the Lifeline Program website.

7/8/2014498/499 Spotlight Newsletter 3Q2014 Issued


The 3Q2014 498/499 Spotlight quarterly newsletter is now available. The 498/499 Spotlight newsletter is designed to provide important, up-to-date information about the FCC Form 498 and FCC Form 499 including news, deadlines, and filing best practices for service providers.

To sign up to receive the 498/499 Spotlight newsletter via email, visit the subscription center.

7/8/2014E-File Outage Due to System Maintenance: Friday, July 11


USAC’s E-File system, including Rural Health Care’s My Portal, will be unavailable Friday, July 11, from 9:00 PM to 11:59 PM EDT for system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for contributors, service providers, or participants in the High Cost, Lifeline, and Rural Health Care programs. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, and search for certain forms online.

7/3/2014Updated FCC Form 690 User Guide and Template


An updated User Guide is now available on the USAC website. The updates reflect adjustments made to the system carriers use to submit and certify FCC Form 690.

Carriers can now access (60) Coverage and Performance Upload Templates for both Excel 2007 and Excel 2010 on the Upload Templates page on the USAC website.

The templates allow carriers to upload multiple rows of data detailing their progress increasing mobility coverage and performance at once.

New Deadline for FCC Form 690 is July 31
The reporting deadline for FCC Form 690 has been extended to July 31.

On June 19, the FCC released a Public Notice that extends the due date of the July 2014 Mobility Fund Phase I Annual Report and provides guidance to recipients about reporting requirements for annual reports and requesting disbursements of support. The guidance provides information and filing instructions concerning the coverage data to be submitted on FCC Form 690.

More Information
If you have questions about filing the FCC Form 690, contact HCLI Questions. For help with the E-File system, contact USAC Customer Operations at (888) 641-8722, or contact us via email.

7/2/2014FCC Form 481 Outage Due to System Maintenance: Wednesday, July 2


The FCC Form 481 will be unavailable in E-File today, Wednesday, July 2, starting at 6:00 PM EDT for maintenance. We anticipate this maintenance to last approximately 1.5 hours.

This maintenance replaces the previously announced maintenance at 2:00 PM EDT. The system maintenance has been moved to 6:00 PM EDT.

During this time, users will be unable to access the FCC Form 481 online, and any user already in the system at the time of maintenance will lose all un-saved data.

7/1/2014"Invalid Headers" Error Message in NLAD


If you are receiving the error message "overrideCode Validation: File contains invalid headers" in NLAD, please follow the steps below to clear your browser's cache/cookies and resolve the issue.

This issue is affecting users who have not cleared their cache/cookies since last night's NLAD deployment. Once you clear the cache/cookies for your Internet browser, the error message should no longer generate.

Please note: Changing to a different browser may not work because if you have logged into NLAD in both browsers before, both of their cache/cookies may not have been deleted.

Steps to clear your Internet Explorer cache/cookies:
  1. Click the Gear icon in the upper right corner.
  2. Select Tools > Safety > "Delete browsing history…"
  3. Ensure "Preserve Favorites website data" is unchecked. Check "Temporary Internet files and website files" and "Cookies and website data" and click "Delete."
  4. You will receive confirmation in the bottom of the window that your cache and cookies have been cleared.

If you need assistance clearing the cache/cookies, please email NLAD Support.

Questions about NLAD
If you have any questions, email us or call (877) 524-1325.

7/1/2014July 2014 HCLI News Issued


The July 2014 issue of HCLI News is now available.

6/30/2014Update - My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance: Tuesday, July 1


Update: The My Portal system will be unavailable from 5:00-7:00 PM EDT Tuesday, July 1, due to system maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.

6/30/2014Last Chance to Submit FY2013 Funding Requests


The deadline to submit a funding request for Funding Year (FY) 2013 of the Rural Health Care Program is Monday, June 30, 2014, by 11:59 PM EDT. You must submit a funding request form by this time to receive funding for FY2013 (July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014).

The following funding request forms are available for the RHC Program:
After the deadline, all draft forms of FY2013 funding requests will be deleted from My Portal.

How to Submit
All FCC forms and supporting documentation must be submitted in My Portal, the Rural Health Care Program's online application management system.

Funding request forms and instructions are available online on the Telecom Program Forms page and the HCF Program Forms page.

Contact Us
If you have any questions or encounter problems in My Portal, contact us:
  • Email the RHC Help Desk, or
  • Call the RHC Help Desk at (800) 453-1546 between 9:30 AM and 4:30 PM ET.

A new Contact Us link is now available in the left-hand navigation menu of every page of the RHC Program website providing specific contact information for the Telecom, HCF, and Pilot programs.

To learn more about the RHC Program, visit our website.

6/27/2014FCC Form 690 Outage Due to System Maintenance: Monday, June 30


The FCC Form 690 will be unavailable in E-File starting Monday, June 30, 2014, at 5:00 PM EDT for system maintenance. We anticipate this maintenance to last approximately 1.5 hours.

During this time, users will be unable to access the FCC Form 690 online, and any user already in the system at the time of maintenance will lose all unsaved data.

6/26/2014Changes to the RHC Program Contact Information


In order to better serve you, the Rural Health Care (RHC) Program has centralized our channels of communication into a single, enhanced RHC Help Desk for the Healthcare Connect Fund, Telecommunications, and Pilot programs.

This streamlined system of communication eliminates several email addresses and phone numbers for different RHC programs, and helps ensure that your questions are answered directly by the staff member who has both the knowledge and immediate availability to assist you.

How to Contact the RHC Program
All RHC Program participants should use this information to contact the RHC Help Desk:
  • Email us at rhc-assist@usac.org, or
  • Call us at (800) 453-1546 between 9:30 AM and 4:30 PM ET.

The following email addresses and phone numbers for the RHC Help Desk will be discontinued in the near future: rhc-admin@usac.org, rhc-outreach@usac.org, and (800) 229-5476.

For more information on how to navigate the new Help Desk phone system, please visit the Rural Health Care Program Contact Us page.

6/26/2014NLAD Outage Due to Scheduled System Maintenance: Monday, June 30


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable due to scheduled system maintenance on Monday, June 30, from 9:00 PM to 11:59 PM EDT.

The NLAD pre-production and production environments will not be available for use during this time. We apologize for any inconvenience.

For a full calendar of scheduled maintenance, visit the Outage Schedule page on the Lifeline Program website.

6/23/2014NLAD Partial System Outage


We are experiencing a partial outage in the NLAD pre-production and production environments that affects carriers' ability to submit dispute resolution requests.

We are working to resolve this issue, and apologize for the inconvenience.

6/20/2014Technical Difficulties in My Portal


Applicants may be experiencing technical difficulties when attempting to submit Healthcare Connect Fund Program application forms through My Portal.

Under the "Certifications" tab, after selecting "Certify," applicants may receive an "Incorrect Signature" error message, which will prevent form submission. To certify and submit a form, you will need to clear the auto-populated text in the "Signature" field and enter the password you use to sign into My Portal.

We are working to correct the certification function and hope it will be updated soon.

6/20/2014June Software Update for My Portal


The Rural Health Care (RHC) Program deploys software updates to improve usability and functionality in My Portal, the RHC Program's online application management system.

These updates include features that will expedite the application review process and help applicants maintain Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program compliance. Many of the enhancements are based on feedback from applicants.

Continue reading below to learn about the recent My Portal updates.

Updates for Individual HCP and Consortium Account Holders
The following updates were made to accounts with individual health care provider (HCP) or consortium leader permissions:

New FCC Form 463 Tab Added
In the "forms" tabs, account holders will see the new "463" tab and will be able to submit the form for approved funding requests. The "total invoice amount" column will be blank if there is $0.00 available for invoicing.

More Drop-Down Options Added
More drop-down options for FCC Form 462 supporting documentation were added. Account holders can now select "Cost Allocation," "Cost-effectiveness Evaluation," and "Eligible Usage Calculation" supporting documentation options from the drop-down menu. In addition to these options, consortium leader account holders can select "Network Plan" and "Sustainability Plan."

Versions of the Network Cost Worksheet Now Viewable
Account holders with multiple expenses can now view submitted or approved versions of the Network Cost Worksheet (NCW) in the "462" tab. After the NCW is approved, only the approved version will be available to view in the "Download" column for each form.

PDF Versions of Submitted or Approved Forms Now Viewable
Account holders can now view PDF versions of all submitted or approved FCC forms. Once USAC approves the form, the submitted version will be replaced and the approved version will be available to view in the "Download" column for each form. Withdrawn, duplicate, or denied forms will not be available to view.

Learn More, Receive Assistance
Stay in touch with the HCF Program to learn about future enhancements to My Portal and other information.

For immediate assistance about the HCF Program, submit questions via email.

6/19/2014FCC Public Notice: FCC Form 690 Guidance and Deadline Extension


On June 19, 2014, the FCC released Public Notice DA 14-843 which extends the 2014 Mobility Fund Phase I Annual Report (FCC Form 690) deadline by thirty days to July 31, 2014. The FCC also provided guidance to Mobility Phase I support recipients on the coverage reporting requirements for annual reports and for requesting disbursements of support.

6/19/2014FCC Form 481 System Maintenance: June 20


The FCC Form 481 will be unavailable in E-File starting Friday, June 20, at 5:00 PM EDT for scheduled maintenance. We anticipate this maintenance to last approximately 2 hours.

During this time, users will be unable to access the FCC Form 481 online, and any user already in the system at the time of maintenance will lose all un-saved data.

For questions about FCC Form 481, contact HCLI Questions. For help with the E-File system, contact USAC Customer Operations at (888) 641-8722, or contact us via email.

6/18/2014FCC Form 481 System Maintenance Today at 5:00 EDT


The FCC Form 481 will be unavailable in E-File starting Wednesday, June 18, at 5:00 PM EDT for scheduled maintenance. We anticipate this maintenance to last approximately 1.5 hours.

During this time, users will be unable to access the FCC Form 481 online, and any user already in the system at the time of maintenance will lose all un-saved data.

For questions about FCC Form 481, contact HCLI Questions. For help with the E-File system, contact USAC Customer Operations at (888) 641-8722, or contact us via email.

6/18/2014Upcoming Duplicate Resolution Dates and Deadlines


Duplicate subscriber resolution is the process carriers must follow to de-enroll subscribers receiving more than one Lifeline Program benefit.

Here is a summary of important state-specific dates and deadlines in the next two weeks. For more information and a complete schedule, visit the NLAD Duplicate Resolution page.

Upcoming Letter Mailing Dates
On these dates, USAC will send a letter to the subscriber alerting them to select a single Lifeline Program carrier within 35 days. Subscribers will also receive a postcard and automated phone call reminder during this 35-day period.

  • Friday, June 20: Alaska, American Samoa, Colorado, Guam, Hawaii, Montana, Northern Mariana Islands, Nevada, and Virgin Islands
Upcoming Subscriber Selection Deadlines (End of 35 Day Call-In Period)
If the subscriber fails to respond to the letter by the date listed below, the randomly-selected default carrier (indicated on the letter) will be designated on the subscriber's behalf.

  • Tuesday, June 24: New Jersey, North Carolina, and Tennessee
  • Tuesday, July 1: Illinois

Upcoming De-Enroll Start Dates
On the dates listed below, the Duplicate Resolution De-Enroll Report will become available in NLAD, detailing which subscribers will be de-enrolled from NLAD. The carrier must de-enroll these subscribers from its internal company systems within five (5) business days of this date.

  • Tuesday, June 24: Alabama, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Virginia

  • Tuesday, July 1: New York

The date listed above is also the first day that carriers can perform a benefit transfer on subscribers that were identified in the duplicate resolution process. If a subscriber would like to change their single Lifeline Program carrier, they must contact their preferred carrier and request a benefit transfer.

Upcoming De-Enroll Deadlines
Carriers must de-enroll subscribers from their internal company systems by the date listed below. From this date forward, carriers may not include these subscribers on FCC Forms 497 for reimbursement.

  • Thursday, June 19: Florida

  • Tuesday, June 24: Michigan

  • Tuesday, July 1: Alabama, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Virginia

States That Completed the Duplicate Resolution and De-Enroll Process
The de-enroll deadline has already passed for carriers in the following states:

  • Migration Group 1: Arkansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Washington

  • Migration Group 2: Georgia, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Ohio, Rhode Island, and West Virginia

  • Migration Group 3: Delaware, District of Columbia, and Missouri

About Duplicate Resolution
More information about duplicate resolution, including the full calendar for all states, is available on the NLAD Duplicate Resolution web page and the Frequently Asked Questions web page on the Lifeline Program website.

A recording and presentation slides from the duplicate resolution webinar are available in the Lifeline Program's Online Learning Library.

Questions about NLAD
If you have any questions about NLAD, contact us at NLADquestions@usac.org or (877) 524-1325.

6/17/2014NLAD Outage Due to Monthly System Maintenance: Saturday, June 21


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable due to monthly system maintenance on Saturday, June 21, from 2:00 AM to 6:00 AM EDT.

The NLAD pre-production and production environments will not be available for use during this time. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Monthly scheduled maintenance generally occurs on the third Saturday of the month. For a full calendar of scheduled maintenance, visit the Outage Schedule page on the Lifeline Program website.

6/17/2014New Dispute Resolution Error Code Available June 30


A new dispute resolution code, T17 - TPIV Fail Dispute, has been added to the website. The new code is currently available only in the NLAD pre-production environment, and will be available in the NLAD production environment starting June 30, 2014.

Carriers that submit or submitted resolution tickets for subscribers who fit the definition of T17 prior to June 30 will need to resubmit the ticket back to NLAD for resolution.

The definition for the new code (T17 - TPIV Fail Dispute) is:

Carrier uses subscriber's last name, date of birth, and last four digits of Social Security Number and provides it to a state eligibility database/state administrator or compares it to beneficiary data provided to the carrier by the state — carrier receives confirmation from the state eligibility database/state administrator that the subscriber exists in the eligibility database and is eligible for a Lifeline Program benefit, or that the carrier matches the name, date of birth, and last four digits of the Social Security Number to beneficiary data provided to the carrier by the state.

Please visit the Dispute Resolution page in the NLAD section of the Lifeline Program website or join us for this week's NLAD Weekly Industry Webinar for more information about this new code.

Questions about NLAD
If you have any questions about NLAD, contact us at NLAD Support or (877) 524-1325.

6/16/2014NLAD System Partial Outage


We are experiencing a partial outage in the NLAD pre-production and production environments that affects carriers' ability to submit dispute resolution requests.

We are working to resolve this issue, and apologize for the inconvenience.

6/16/2014Reminder: Early Filing for FCC Form 486


Applicants can file the FCC Form 486 before services start if they have received a funding commitment, if their services will start in the month of July, and if they can accurately make all the relevant certifications at the time they certify the FCC Form 486.

Note that applicants filing FCC Form 486 before July 1 MUST check the early filing box (Item 6a) in order to successfully file this form.

6/12/2014FCC Announces Third Quarter 2014 Contribution Factor Decrease to 15.7 Percent


The Federal Communications Commission released a Public Notice (DA 14-812) announcing that the proposed universal service contribution factor for the third quarter (July-September) of 2014 will be 0.157 or 15.7 percent.

6/11/2014Outage Today in NLAD Pre-Production Environment from 4:00 to 5:00 PM EDT


The NLAD pre-production system will be down today, June 11, 2014, from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM EDT to fix the issue of API Users with a 503 error in the pre-production environment. We apologize for the late notice and any inconvenience.

Please note that this will only affect the pre-production environment and will not affect the NLAD production environment.

Updates to NLAD Outage Schedule

The NLAD Outage Schedule has been updated on our website to reflect the following changes:

•Release on June 30: TPIV enhancements for ETC self-help available in production system and multiple error codes for verify and enroll function (formerly scheduled for June 16)

More information and reminders about releases and upcoming changes will be shared to subscribers of the NLAD Bulletin. You can also log in to NLAD to download descriptions from the NLAD User Guide and API Specifications available under the "Reports and Tools" section.

Questions about NLAD

We look forward to you joining us for these event and hearing your questions. For event-related assistance, contact USAC Training. If you have any questions about NLAD, contact us at NLAD Support or (877) 524-1325.

6/11/2014Reminder: FCC Rate Floor Announcement Affects July 1 Reporting Deadline


As of June 1, 2014, all High Cost Program ILEC ETCs must report the number of residential service lines for which the sum of the rate and state fees are below $20.46 no later than July 1, 2014.

On March 20, the Bureau released a public notice (DA 14-384) announcing the $20.46 rate floor.

The Commission recently adopted an order which delays and phases in associated reductions in universal service support (FCC 14-54, para. 80). However, there is no change in the rate floor itself or in the July 1, 2014 filing requirement.

6/10/2014Registration Open for E-rate Program Applicant Trainings


This fall, join USAC for an all-day training focused on applicants who participate in the Schools and Libraries (E-rate) Program. Register Today!

6/9/2014Connect America Fund ICC Data Filing Due June 16


Incumbent local exchange carrier recipients of High Cost Program support must report changes to their tariffed Access Recovery Charge. Findings in these reports could result in the reduction of intercarrier revenues.

The deadline to report these changes is June 16, the same day as the FCC's tariff filing date.

Price cap carriers seeking Intercarrier Compensation (ICC) Recovery support must file data establishing the amount of the price cap carrier's eligible ICC Recovery funding during the upcoming funding period. This amount should include true ups associated with an earlier funding period.

Rate-of-return carriers should file data establishing the rate-of-return carrier's projected eligibility for ICC Recovery funding during the upcoming funding period. The projected amount includes true ups associated with an earlier funding period.

6/9/2014My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance: Wednesday, June 11


The My Portal system will be unavailable from 5:00-7:00 PM EDT Wednesday, June 11, due to system maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.

6/5/2014Is your FCC Form 498 up to date?


The July 1 deadline is fast approaching to file your FCC Form 481. Before you can file this form, the contact information on your FCC Form 498 (Service Provider Identification Number and General Contact Information Form) and your FCC Form 481 entitlements set in E-File must be up to date.

Please make necessary updates to your contact information on FCC Form 498 as soon as possible; processing this form can take up to 10 days.

Checklist for FCC Form 498 Company Officers/General Contacts

If you are your company's FCC Form 498 Company Officer or General Contact, log in to E-File and check the following (for each of your SPINs, if you have multiple SPINs):

  • Are all of your Study Area Codes (SACs) listed on your FCC Form 498?
  • Is the contact information for your General Contact up to date? Your Company Officer? (Remember, only they can establish 481 authorized users.)
  • Click "FCC Form 481." Are your user entitlements up to date? Have you established your authorized users - 481 User, 481 Agent, 481 Officer? Is their contact information up to date?
  • Make any updates needed. They will be saved automatically in E-File.
Checklist for 481 Users, 481 Agents, and 481 Officers

  • Can you log in to E-File?
  • Once you're logged in, click "FCC Form 481." Can you view your 481 entitlement? Is it correct?
If you cannot access your company's FCC Form 481 in E-File, you must contact your company's FCC Form 498 Company Officer or General Contact to grant you access. For additional help, contact Customer Support.

About FCC Form 481

Carriers receiving High Cost Program support, Lifeline Program support, or both, must submit FCC Form 481, the Carrier Annual Reporting Data Collection Form, by July 1.

More Information

For questions about FCC Form 481, contact HCLI Questions.

For more information about filing FCC Form 481, watch the FCC Form 481 Webinar recording available in the Online Learning Library.

For help filing the FCC Form 481 online, check out the FCC Form 481 Online User Guide, available on the High Cost Program Forms page.

For help with E-File, call USAC Customer Support at (888) 641-8722 then select Option 3, "498 Support," then Option 1, "logging into E-File," or email us.

5/23/2014NLAD Outage Schedule for 2014


NLAD routinely is taken offline for scheduled system maintenance. Typically, this maintenance is completed on the 3rd Saturday of each month. The NLAD Outage Schedule webpage outlines all 2014 dates for NLAD scheduled system maintenance. All dates and times are subject to change.

For more information regarding releases and upcoming NLAD changes, subscribe to the NLAD Bulletin email list. You can also login to NLAD to download descriptions from the NLAD User Guide and API Specifications available under the "Reports and Tools" section.

5/21/2014System Maintenance: 9:00-11:59 PM EDT Friday, May 23


The Apply Online page, including Submit a Question, online forms, and most search tools will be unavailable from 9:00-11:59 PM EDT Friday, May 23, for system maintenance. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, and search for certain forms online.

5/20/2014Oklahoma De-Enroll Reports Available; Deadline Extended By One Day to May 28


The Duplicate Resolution De-Enroll Report for carriers in Oklahoma is now available in NLAD (as of 1:00 PM EDT). We apologize for the inconvenience and late release of this report.

USAC is extending the de-enroll deadline for ETCs in Oklahoma by one business day. The new deadline to de-enroll subscribers from internal company listings is Wednesday, May 28, 2014.

5/20/2014Filing Reminder: FCC Form 690 Is Due July 1


USAC would like to remind Mobility Fund recipients that FCC Form 690, the required annual certification for all Mobility Fund recipient carriers, is due Tuesday, July 1, 2014.

Mobility Fund recipients can log in to E-File, USAC's online filing system, to access the form.

USAC has posted updated versions of the FCC Form 690 (Excel version), the Online System User Guide, and the OMB-approved filing instructions. These materials can all be found on the High Cost Program Forms page.

A recording of the webinar "Walkthrough of FCC Form 690," presented in March 2014, is available in the High Cost Program Online Learning Library.

More information about FCC Form 690 is available in the Mobility Fund section of the High Cost Program website. For assistance, contact HCLI Questions, or call (888) 641-8722.

5/14/2014NLAD Duplicate Subscriber Resolution Mailing Schedule


USAC has begun the NLAD duplicate subscriber resolution process for Lifeline Program subscribers identified as receiving multiple Lifeline Program benefits. The duplicate resolution process begins when USAC sends a letter to a subscriber identified as having more than one benefit. The letter will require the subscriber to select a single service provider. If the subscriber fails to respond, a single randomly selected provider will be designated on the subscriber’s behalf. USAC will mail subscriber letters on the following dates for the states listed: 

  • June 20, 2014 - Alaska, American Samoa, Colorado, Guam, Hawaii, Montana, Nevada, Northern Mariana Islands, and Virgin Islands
  • June 17, 2014 - Arizona, Idaho, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wyoming
  • June 13, 2014 - Iowa, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Utah
  • June 10, 2014 - Connecticut, Indiana, Kansas, and Wisconsin
  • June 6, 2014 - South Carolina
  • June 3, 2014 - Pennsylvania
  • May 27, 2014 - Illinois
  • May 20, 2014 - New Jersey, North Carolina, and Tennessee
  • May 13, 2014 - New York
  • May 6, 2014 - Alabama, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Virginia
  • April 29, 2014 - Michigan
  • April 22, 2014 - Florida
  • April 18, 2014 - Delaware, District of Columbia, and Missouri
  • April 15, 2014 - Georgia
  • April 11, 2014 - Maine, Mississippi, Rhode Island, and West Virginia
  • April 8, 2014 - Ohio
  • April 4, 2014 - Massachusetts
  • April 1, 2014 -  Louisiana and Washington
  • March 25, 2014 - Oklahoma
  • March 17, 2014 - Arkansas and Maryland

USAC will continue to notify carriers in advance of each state’s mailing. If you have any questions about NLAD, please email the NLAD team.

5/9/2014FCC Form 481 Unavailable Due to System Maintenance: Tuesday, May 13


The FCC Form 481 will be unavailable in the E-File system from 5:00-8:00 PM EDT Tuesday, May 13, due to system maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.

5/8/2014USAC Issues First Funding Wave for FY2014


On Thursday, May 15, USAC will issue notification letters for the first funding wave for Funding Year (FY) 2014. This wave will include over $607 million in Priority 1 funding commitments for over 14,600 applications. This compares to over $128 million in funding commitments issued in the first funding wave for FY2013 on May 29, 2013.

Also, the first FY2014 wave will contain over six times the number of applications requesting broadband services compared to the first wave of FY2013, and will include commitments to large, medium and small applications for both schools and libraries.

Read the press release.

5/8/2014FCC Form 486 for FY2014 Available May 15


The FCC Form 486 for FY2014 will be available for online filing starting Thursday, May 15. FCC Form 486 Notification Letters will start going out soon after the first forms are filed.

Applicants can file the FCC Form 486 early (before services have started) if:
  1. They have received a Funding Commitment Decision Letter with a positive funding commitment,
  2. Their services will start in the month of July, and
  3. They can accurately make all of the certifications required on the form.

5/7/2014Order Waives Five-Year Plan Requirement for Price Cap Carriers


On May 1, 2014, the Wireline Competition Bureau issued an Order (DA 14-591) waiving the requirement that price cap carriers receiving frozen or incremental support file new five-year build-out plans by July 1, 2014. The Bureau said because it just finalized the Connect America Cost Model, and price cap carriers have not yet had the opportunity to make a state-level commitment for Connect America Phase II support, it finds that it is not in the public interest to require price cap carriers to file new five-year plans in 2014 since they do not yet know which areas they will be serving in the future.

Please note that the Order does not waive the July 1, 2014, deadline for filing of five-year plans by rate-of-return carriers.

Information about five-year plans as well as other FCC Form 481 filing requirements can be found on the Filing FCC Form 481 frequently asked questions (FAQs) webpage. These FAQs are updated regularly as we receive new questions from carriers so be sure to check back often.

5/6/2014May 27 Deadline for Item 21 Attachments and FCC Form 471 Certifications


Each year, USAC issues two sets of letters – one to applicants that filed an FCC Form 471 online before the close of the filing window but did not complete the certification process, and the other to remind applicants to submit their Item 21 Attachments. Both sets of letters were issued today, May 6. Appropriate actions must be taken on or before May 27, 2014.

To check whether or not you need to take action, review the List of FY2014 FCC Forms 471 Not Yet Certified and the List of FRNs for FY2014 Missing Item 21 Attachments. Note that these lists are static – you can find information at the top of each list about the dates the entries on the lists were identified and which forms or FRNs are included.

What do I do if I receive a Notification of FCC Form 471 with No Certification?
You must certify your FCC Form 471 on or before May 27 if you have not already done so. If you do not meet this deadline, the form will be considered out-of-window. You can certify an FCC Form 471 online or on paper.

The list of uncertified FCC Forms 471 contains all forms that were timely filed but not certified as of 9:30 AM EDT on May 5, 2014. The list is in alphabetical order by state.

If you believe your form has been certified, go to the View 471 Status tool, enter your Billed Entity Number and choose FY2014, and review the search results. If you have any questions, please call our Client Service Bureau (CSB) at (888) 203-8100.

What do I do if I receive an Item 21 Attachment Urgent Reminder Letter?
You must submit an Item 21 Attachment for each of your Funding Request Numbers (FRNs) on or before May 27, 2014 if you have not already done so. FRNs that are missing Item 21 Attachments or have Item 21 Attachments submitted after May 27 will be denied for being out-of-window.

The list of FRNs contains all FY2014 FRNs in the USAC database that we believe are missing Item 21 Attachments. This list is in alphabetical order by state. The first tab is A-F, the second is G-K, the third is L-P, and the fourth is R-Z.

Your FRN will be on the list if:
  • You did not file an Item 21 Attachment and should have filed one.
  • You started an Item 21 Attachment online but did not submit it by May 5, 2014. (Clicking the “Save and Exit” button does not submit your attachment.)
  • You submitted an Item 21 Attachment by email, fax, or on paper, but you did not correctly identify the FRN, the FCC Form 471 application number, or both in time for USAC to log it by April 17.
  • Your Item 21 Attachment and the Item 21 Attachment Urgent Reminder Letter crossed in the mail.

If you believe your FRN is on this list in error because you have submitted an Item 21 Attachment online, go to the Item 21 Attachment tool; enter your Billed Entity Number, FCC Form 471 application number, and security code; and click “Continue.” If an FRN shows any status other than “submitted online,” click the status, complete your attachment, and click the “submit” button. This action will complete the process and submit your attachment.

If you believe your FRN is on this list in error because you have submitted an Item 21 Attachment by email, fax, or paper, first review your copy of the submission for accuracy. You can then call the Client Service Bureau (CSB) at (888) 203-8100 to check the status of your submission. Be sure to have your FCC Form 471 application number, the method of submission (email, fax, or paper), and the date of submission.

4/30/2014Certain Online Forms Unavailable Due to System Maintenance: Friday, May 2 through Saturday, May 3


Certain online forms will be unavailable beginning Friday, May 2 at 8:00 PM through Saturday, May 3 at 5:00 PM EDT, for system maintenance. Including forms in the:
  • High Cost Program system,
  • Lifeline Program system,
  • Rural Health Care Program My Portal system, and
  • Schools and Libraries Program Apply Online system.
These online forms will not be accessible for eligible telecommunications carriers, service providers, or participants in the High Cost, Lifeline, Rural Health Care, and Schools and Libraries programs. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, search for certain forms online, and use online applications or tools.

The FCC Forms 499-A/Q, FCC Form 498, and the NLAD system will still be available. We apologize for any inconvenience.

4/30/2014Important Notice from the FCC: Dispute Resolution Process – Phase out Process for the Utility Bill as Proof of Identity


USAC has established a Dispute Resolution process for carriers to use to resolve instances where NLAD rejects subscriber information.

Carriers will find a series of codes to use for resolving instances where a subscriber fails for certain reasons, including but not limited to the third party identification verification (TPIV) check.

The series of codes provided for resolving TPIV failures no longer includes the use of a utility bill.

Therefore, carriers must phase out the utility bill as a source of identity verification when disputing TPIV failures for NLAD. Please note that all enrollments after May 15, 2014, that use a utility bill to confirm identity (i.e.to resolve a TPIV failure) will be rejected.

Please refer to the guide below to determine how to proceed with instances where the carrier intended to use or did use a utility bill to confirm identity prior to the removal of the utility bill from the list of USAC codes.

  1. Carrier has a dispute resolution ticket for the subscriber dated prior to May 15, 2014.
    If you already have a dispute resolution ticket for a subscriber who has been rejected due to a TPIV failure prior to May 15, 2014, you may use the utility bill to verify the subscriber’s identity. For new dispute resolution tickets submitted into NLAD, please make a notation in the comments section stating that you have used a utility bill consistent with this "Phase Out" process.
  2. Carrier has received a TPIV error from NLAD prior to May 15, 2014, but has not yet submitted a dispute resolution ticket.
    If you have received a TPIV error from NLAD prior to May 15, 2014, you may still use the utility bill to confirm the subscriber’s identity if the dispute resolution ticket is submitted to NLAD no later than Friday, June 20, 2014. Again, for new dispute resolution tickets submitted into NLAD, please make a notation in the comments section stating that you have used a utility bill consistent with this "Phase Out" process.


All TPIV dispute resolution ticket submitted after Friday, June 20, 2014, to NLAD will be rejected if the carrier uses a utility bill to confirm a subscriber’s identity.

4/29/2014FCC Form 690 Unavailable Due to System Maintenance: Tuesday, April 29


The FCC Form 690 will be unavailable in the E-File system from 5:00-8:00 PM EDT Tuesday, April 29, due to system maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.

4/18/2014FCC Form 481 Unavailable in E-File: Tuesday, April 22


The FCC Form 481 will be unavailable in E-File from 5:00-8:00 PM EDT Tuesday, April 22, 2014. We apologize for any inconvenience. During this outage, the following updates will be made:

  • Service Quality Improvement (the 5 year plan) (Section 100)

Line items 113 – 118, which address the items requiring certification in subsequent years’ progress reports, will be made optional when an initial 5 year plan is attached to line item 112.

  • Complaints per 1000 customers (Voice)(Section 400)

This reporting is not required for state commission designated Lifeline Program-only ETCs, line items 410 and 420 will be made optional on the form.

  • Price cap carrier additional documentation (Section 2005)

Due to price cap carriers varied regulatory status, line items 2013 and 2016 will be made optional on the “Price Cap Data” screen.

  • Rate of return carrier additional documentation (Section 3005)

Rate of return carriers are not filing progress reports on their 5 year plans, line items 3010, 3011, and 3012 will no longer appear on the “Rate of Return” data screen for Program Year 2015.

4/17/2014USAC Provides Demand Estimate for Funding Year 2014 to FCC


On April 17, 2014, the Schools and Libraries Program of the USAC reported to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that $4.825 billion in requested funding has been estimated for schools and libraries seeking discounts for Funding Year 2014. This estimate is based on the dollars requested in 45,731 applications received or postmarked on or before March 26, 2014, the close of the FY2014 FCC Form 471 application filing window.

There are several factors that will reduce ultimately the funds requested from the estimated level. First, USAC will find duplicate funding requests as these funding applications are reviewed and processed. Second, USAC's efforts to assure that funds are committed only for eligible services and equipment for use by eligible entities with the appropriate discount rate and are otherwise consistent with FCC rules, will further reduce the demand estimate.

For detailed information, please refer to the FY2014 Demand Estimate.

4/17/2014NLAD Dispute Resolution Process Available


Currently, USAC handles error code resolution disputes manually, via a ticketing system. This process will soon be automated through NLAD. The current, manual process for dispute resolution that carriers should follow is outlined on the Dispute Resolution webpage.

This process may be used to resolve dispute resolution tickets that have already been submitted in NLAD and are currently awaiting processing, or new dispute resolution tickets entered in NLAD.

With questions about this process, contact NLAD Questions.

4/16/2014My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance: Thursday, April 17


The My Portal system will be unavailable from 5:00-7:00 PM EDT Thursday, April 17, due to system maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.

4/16/2014USAC Monthly System Maintenance: Saturday, April 19


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable due to USAC monthly system maintenance on Saturday, April 19, from 2:00 AM EDT until 6:00 AM EDT. Neither the API nor the NAP will be available for use during this time. This outage is for routine USAC-wide server maintenance, which usually occurs on the third Saturday of each month. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Questions about NLAD
If you have any questions, contact us at NLADSupport@usac.org or (877) 524-1325.

4/16/2014NLAD Outage Due to System Maintenance: Monday, April 21


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable from 9:00-11:59 PM EDT Monday, April 21, due to system maintenance. Neither the API nor the NAP will be available for use during this time. We apologize for any inconvenience.

4/15/2014NLAD Duplicate Resolution Webinar Slides Now Available


The presentation slides for the webinar, "NLAD Duplicate Resolution," are now available. The webinar is today, April 15, 2014, at 11:00 AM EDT. Visit the Lifeline Program Trainings & Outreach page for more information and to sign up.

4/11/2014498/499 Spotlight Newsletter 2Q2014 Issued


USAC is excited to present the second issue of the 498/499 Spotlight quarterly newsletter. The 498/499 Spotlight newsletter is designed to provide important, up-to-date information about the FCC Form 498 and FCC Form 499 including news, deadlines, and filing best practices for service providers.

To sign up to receive the 498/499 Spotlight newsletter via email, visit the subscription center.

4/10/2014System Maintenance: 9:00-11:00 PM EDT Friday, April 11


The Apply Online page, including Submit a Question, online forms, and most search tools will be unavailable from 9:00-11:00 PM EDT Friday, April 11, for system maintenance. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, and search for certain forms online.

4/9/2014NLAD Outage Due to System Maintenance: Friday, April 11


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable from 9:00-11:59 PM EDT Friday, April 11, due to system maintenance. Neither the API nor the NAP will be available for use during this time. We apologize for any inconvenience.

4/7/2014My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance: Monday, April 7


The My Portal system will be unavailable from 6:00-9:00 PM EDT Monday, April 7, due to system maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.

4/4/2014Correction - Connect America Fund ICC Data Filing is June 16, 2014


In the April 2014 edition of the HCLI News newsletter, USAC misstated the filing deadline for the Connect America Fund ICC data filing. The correct deadline is June 16, the same day as the FCC’s tariff filing deadline. The April 2014 HCLI News has been updated to reflect the correct deadline.

4/4/2014NLAD Outage Due to System Maintenance: Monday, April 7


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable from 9:00-11:00 PM EDT Monday, April 7, due to system maintenance. Neither the API nor the NAP will be available for use during this time. We apologize for any inconvenience.

4/4/2014FCC Form 690 Now Available for July 1, 2014 Filing


USAC is pleased to announce that beginning April 4, 2014, eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) can log in to E-File and access the FCC Form 690. The FCC Form 690 is required for all ETCs receiving support from the Mobility Fund. It is due July 1, 2014. USAC has also posted the FCC Form 690 (Excel version), an FCC Form 690 Online Filing User Guide, OMB-approved filing instructions, and the necessary upload template. These can all be found on the High Cost Program Forms page.

4/3/2014Guidance on Completing Non-Routine Benefit Transfers


Click here to learn how to complete a non-routine benefit transfer.

4/3/2014Certain Online Forms Unavailable Due to System Maintenance: Saturday, April 5


Certain online forms will be unavailable Saturday, April 5, from 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM EDT, for system maintenance. Including forms in the:

  • High Cost Program system,
  • Lifeline Program system,
  • Rural Health Care Program My Portal system, and
  • Schools and Libraries Program Apply Online system. 

These online forms will not be accessible for eligible telecommunications carriers, service providers, or participants in the High Cost, Lifeline, Rural Health Care, and Schools and Libraries programs. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, search for certain forms online, and use online applications or tools.

The FCC Forms 499-A/Q and FCC Form 498 will still be available.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

4/3/2014E-File Outage Due to System Maintenance: Friday, April 4


The E-File system, including the Rural Health Care Program’s My Portal, will be unavailable Friday, April 4, from 9:00-11:00 PM EDT, for system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for contributors, service providers, or participants in the High Cost, Lifeline, Rural Health Care, and Schools and Libraries programs. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, and search for certain forms online. We apologize for any inconvenience.

4/3/2014My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance: Thursday, April 3


The My Portal system will be unavailable from 5:00-7:00 PM EDT Thursday, April 3, due to system maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.

4/2/2014FCC Form 481 Now Available for July 1, 2014 Filing


USAC is pleased to announce that beginning April 1, 2014, eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) can log in to E-File and access the FCC Form 481. The FCC Form 481 is required for all ETCs participating in the High Cost and/or Lifeline programs. It is due July 1, 2014. USAC has also posted updated versions of the FCC Form 481 (Excel version), an FCC Form 481 Online System User Guide, OMB-approved filing instructions, and all necessary upload templates. These can all be found on the High Cost and Lifeline programs' Forms pages.

Note Rate-of-return carriers can begin populating their FCC Form 481, but will not certify their data until after a subsequent release. USAC will announce that date in the near future.

4/1/20142013 USAC Annual Report Now Available


USAC's 2013 Annual Report highlights USAC's efforts to provide support and guidance for program participants as they navigate ongoing changes in the landscape of universal service. With responsiveness and flexibility, USAC worked in 2013 to show beneficiaries a clear path towards affordable access to telecommunications and Internet services.

3/28/2014NLAD Outage Due to System Maintenance: March 29


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable from 12:00-6:00 AM EDT Saturday, March 29, due to system maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.

3/27/2014Update on Demand Estimate Preparation


As of the close of the FY2014 application filing window last night (at 11:59 PM EDT), the following are totals at that point in time. It should be noted that these numbers are not final as we need to receive, finish data entry, and total all applications postmarked by the close of the filing window that were mailed to us. That process will take more than two weeks.

 

Priority 1

Priority 2

Total

Number of applications

38,480

8,543

47,023

Funding requested

$2.643 billion

$2.225 billion

$4.868 billion


Number of online item 21 attachments filed: 89,837

These preliminary numbers include all FCC Forms 471 that were either complete or certified as of the close of the window plus all paper forms that had finished the data entry process. In the next few weeks, we expect to receive and process more paper applications that were postmarked on or before the window close.

3/27/2014Group 6 Subscriber Data Is Now Live in the NLAD Production Environment


USAC is pleased to notify eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) in Group 6 (Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, Colorado, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Northern Mariana Islands, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Virgin Islands) to start using the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) in the live production environment beginning today, Thursday, March 27, 2014.

Beginning today, all ETCs are required to use the live production environment in NLAD to enroll, de-enroll, or transfer subscribers in the Lifeline Program.

To access NLAD, please use this URL: https://NLAD.universalservice.org

3/27/2014You Can Still File Your Item 21 Attachment


This notice is to remind applicants that they are still able to submit Item 21 attachments online or by email, by fax, or on paper. To submit online, go to the Apply Online page, click the “Item 21 Attachment” button, enter your Billed Entity Number, FCC Form 471 application number, and security code, and enter your data.

Filing an Item 21 attachment immediately after the window closes will not disadvantage your application nor cause your application to be considered as outside the window. However, we encourage you to file your Item 21 attachments as soon as possible.

FCC Order DA 11-88, released January 14, 2011, directs USAC to inform applicants in writing of any missing Item 21 attachments and give them 15 calendar days after receipt of the written notice to submit the missing Item 21 attachments. These letters will be issued in the next few weeks.

3/27/2014Walkthrough of FCC Form 481 Webinar Slides Now Available


The presentation slides for the webinar, "Walkthrough of FCC Form 481," are now available. Please note: these slides have been updated since the webinar was held. Specifically, rate-of-return carriers should be aware of a correction on slide 75: RoR carriers will not be required to file the Milestone Certification or the Data on Community Anchor Institutions in the 2015 Program Year filing. This information will be required in next year's progress report on the five year plan. 

3/27/2014E-File User Entitlements to Set Up NLAD Accounts Webinar Today


In order to set up user accounts in the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD), the carrier must begin in E-File.

Join Lifeline Program staff for a webinar on March 27,  2014, about how to set up user entitlements in E-File, so the FCC Form 497 Officer can begin setting up user accounts in NLAD. Register here: Lifeline Program Training & Outreach

3/26/2014Walkthrough of FCC Form 690 Webinar Slides Now Available


The presentation slides for today's webinar, "Walkthrough of FCC Form 690," are now available.

3/26/2014FY2014 Filing Window Statistics Updated Daily


In order to keep you informed about applications submitted during the FY2014 application filing window, check back here each day to find updates on high-level data from FCC Forms 471 filed both online and on paper.

Category

FY2014

FY2013*

Certified Applications Filed

36,308

45,210

Total Requested

$3,428,453,406

$4,978,880,862

Priority 1 (P1)

$1,917,910,770

$2,675,792,904

Priority 2 (P2)

$1,493,273,388

$2,188,877,235

Total P1/P2

$17,269,248

$114,210,723

Percent P1

55.9%

53.7%

Percent P2

43.6%

44.0%


*FY2013 data cumulative as of April 19, 2013

These statistics are updated on a daily basis.

3/25/20142014 Universal Service Contributions Recording Now Available


The recording for the "2014 Universal Service Fund Contributions" is now available. For more information about other Contributor topics, please visit the Contributors Trainings & Outreach page.

3/20/2014E-File Outage Due to System Maintenance: Thursday, March 20


The E-File system, including Rural Health Care’s My Portal, will be unavailable Thursday, March 20, from 10:00-11:59PM EDT, for system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for contributors, service providers, or participants in the High Cost, Lifeline, Rural Health Care, and Schools and Libraries programs. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, and search for certain forms online. We apologize for any inconvenience.

3/20/2014Group 5 Subscriber Data Is Now Live in the NLAD Production Environment


USAC is pleased to notify eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) in Group 5 (Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin) to start using the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) in the live production environment beginning today, Thursday, March 20, 2014.
 
Beginning today, all ETCs in Group 5 are required to use the live production environment in NLAD to enroll, de-enroll, or transfer subscribers in the Lifeline Program.

To access NLAD, please use this URL: https://NLAD.universalservice.org 

If you have any questions, contact us at NLADSupport@usac.org or (877) 524-1325.

3/19/2014NLAD Duplicate Resolution Webinar Recording Now Available


A recording of the NLAD Duplicate Resolution Webinar presented on March 13, 2014, is now available in the Online Learning Library.

3/19/20142014 Universal Service Contributions Webinar Slides Now Available


The slides for today's webinar, "2014 Universal Service Fund Contributions," are now available. If you aren't registered already, sign up on the contributors Trainings & Outreach page.

3/18/2014Walkthrough of FCC Form 481 Webinar on March 25


FCC Form 481, the Annual Carrier Reporting Data Collection Form, is due to USAC and the FCC on July 1, 2014. Join USAC for a webinar to review filing requirements and changes to the form for 2014. Register here: Walkthrough of FCC Form 481.

3/18/2014My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance: March 18


The My Portal system will be unavailable from 5:00-6:00 PM EDT Tuesday, March 18, 2014, due to system maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.

3/18/2014Client Service Bureau Extended Hours For Last-minute Filers


The Client Service Bureau (CSB) is once again offering extended hours during the last week of the filing window. CSB is generally busiest on weekdays between 11:00 AM and 5:30 PM EST, so we suggest you call them at (888) 203-8100 before or after those times, or during this coming weekend.

Here is a list of CSB's extended hours for the FY2014 filing window:

DayDateOpenClose
Saturday March 22 9:00 AM EDT 6:00 PM EDT
Sunday March 23 9:00 AM EDT 6:00 PM EDT
Monday March 24 8:00 AM EDT 8:00 PM EDT
Tuesday March 25 8:00 AM EDT 10:00 PM EDT
Wednesday March 26 8:00 AM EDT 11:59 PM EDT




3/14/2014FCC Announces Second Quarter 2014 Contribution Factor Increase to 16.6 Percent


The Federal Communications Commission released a Public Notice (DA 14-337) announcing that the proposed universal service contribution factor for the second quarter (April-June) of 2014 will be 0.166 or 16.6 percent.

3/13/2014NLAD Duplicate Resolution Webinar Slides Now Available


The presentation slides from the webinar, "NLAD Duplicate Resolution," presented on March 13, 2014, are now available.

3/13/2014Group 4 Subscriber Data Is Now Live in the NLAD Production Environment


USAC is pleased to notify eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) in Group 4 (Alabama, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Tennessee) to start using the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) in the live production environment beginning today, Thursday, March 13, 2014.

Beginning today, all ETCs in Group 4 are required to use the live production environment in NLAD to enroll, de-enroll, or transfer subscribers in the Lifeline Program.

To access NLAD, please use this URL: https://NLAD.universalservice.org

More information about NLAD is available in the NLAD section of our website.

If you have any questions, contact us at NLADSupport@usac.org or (877) 524-1325.

3/10/2014Webinar on March 19: 2014 Universal Service Fund Contributions


Join USAC to learn about the changes to the 2014 version of FCC Form 499-A, the 499-A true-up process, and Public Notices and FCC Orders related to universal service fund contributions.

Register here: 2014 Universal Service Fund Contributions Webinar

After the discussion of agenda items, the FCC Form 499 staff will answer questions from the audience.

To receive news and notification of events about FCC Forms 499 via email, sign up for the 498/499 Spotlight quarterly newsletter in the subscription center.

3/10/2014NLAD Duplicate Resolution Webinar on March 13


Visit the Lifeline Program Trainings & Outreach page to view more information and sign up for the webinar.

On March 17, USAC will begin the duplicate resolution process for Lifeline Program subscribers identified as Track 1 duplicates (a single subscriber receiving multiple benefits) by the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD). All carriers are invited to join the Lifeline Program staff for a webinar about the duplicate resolution process.

The process begins when USAC sends a letter to a Lifeline Program subscriber identified as a Track 1 duplicate. The letter will require the subscriber to select a single benefit, and cancel all others. Carriers will receive notice from USAC via email if their customers are being contacted. This webinar will cover what a carrier should do if/when their subscribers are contacted.

3/6/2014"470 No 471" Email Notifications Issued


Each year, USAC sends a notification to applicants that have timely posted an FCC Form 470 to the USAC website but not yet filed an FCC Form 471 funding request citing that FCC Form 470.

On March 6, USAC prepared an email to each FCC Form 470 contact person or authorized person with a timely posted FCC Form 470 not cited on any FCC Form 471 Block 5 funding request (Item 11 on the form) as of March 3. For each unique email address, this email contained all affected FCC Form 470 application numbers and all Entity Numbers.

  • If the contact person email address appeared in Item 6e of the form, the email was sent to the contact person.
  • If the contact person email address was blank but the authorized person email address appeared in Item 27f of the form, the email was sent to the authorized person.
Each Form 470 featured at least one of these addresses.

3/6/2014FCC Provides Guidance on 2014 Recertification Election Process


On March 5, 2014, the FCC released Public Notice DA-14-303 which provides guidance regarding the recertification process that USAC will use if an ETC elects to have USAC conduct subscriber recertification on its behalf.

Deadlines
ETCs should perform their election by sending the completed recertification election template to USAC via email by April 1, 2014.

ETCs that make this April 1 election must submit to USAC its subscriber listing supporting the February FCC Form 497 submission. USAC will post a subscriber listing template on the Lifeline Program Forms page by April 1. USAC must receive the completed subscriber listing template by May 1, 2014.

Any ETC that elected USAC to conduct their 2013 recertification will be presumed to elect USAC for the 2014 recertification as well, unless that ETC rescinds its 2013 election by April 1, 2014. Any ETC that fails to elect USAC by the April 1 deadline will be responsible for their subscriber recertification.

More Information
For more information regarding annual recertification requirements please visit USAC’s Recertification Election Option web page. Please direct all correspondence concerning the annual recertification process to LIVerifications@usac.org.

3/6/2014Group 3 Subscriber Data Is Now Live in the NLAD Production Environment


USAC is pleased to notify eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) in Group 3 (Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Virginia) to start using the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) in the live production environment beginning today, Thursday, March 6, 2014.

Beginning today, all ETCs in Group 3 are required to use the live production environment in NLAD to enroll, de-enroll, or transfer subscribers in the Lifeline Program.

To access NLAD, please use this URL: https://NLAD.universalservice.org

More information about NLAD is available in the NLAD section of our website.

If you have any questions about NLAD, contact us at NLADSupport@usac.org or (877) 524-1325.

3/5/2014FCC Form 481 Filing Reminder and Guide


FCC Form 481, the Carrier Annual Reporting Data Collection Form, is due to USAC and the FCC before July 1, 2014. All eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) receiving High Cost Program or Lifeline Program support must file FCC Form 481.

Review the FCC Form 481 filing guide for more information about filing FCC Form 481. This resource includes a list of each issue in the data collection report, the corresponding High Cost Program or Lifeline Program rules, and notes about each issue.

The FCC Form 481 templates and instructions are available on the High Cost Program Forms page of USAC's website. For questions regarding FCC Form 481, please contact HCLI Questions.

2/28/2014Registration Open for 2014 Service Provider Trainings


This spring, join USAC in Tampa or Los Angeles for a training focused on service providers who participate in the Schools and Libraries (E-rate) Program. The training will cover general topics for service providers.

Register early! Space is limited. Both service provider trainings present the same information, so please select only one. Registration is complimentary.

2/27/2014Special Edition News Brief - FY2014 Funding Decisions, Help Us Help You


The 02/27/14 Special Edition issue of the News Brief is now available. Receive E-rate Program tips, deadline reminders, and answers to your questions in this weekly newsletter. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

2/27/2014Group 2 Subscriber Data Is Now Live in the NLAD Production Environment


USAC is pleased to notify eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) in Group 2 (Georgia, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Ohio, Rhode Island, and West Virginia) to start using the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) in the live production environment beginning today, Thursday, February 27, 2014.

Beginning today, all ETCs in Group 2 are required to use the live production environment in NLAD to enroll, de-enroll, or transfer subscribers in the Lifeline Program.

To access NLAD, please use this URL: https://NLAD.universalservice.org 

More information about NLAD is available in the NLAD section of our website.

If you have any questions about NLAD, contact us at NLADSupport@usac.org or (877) 524-1325.

2/27/2014Update on Priority 2 Commitments for FY2013


On February 7, 2014, the USAC Schools & Libraries Committee approved a resolution that authorized USAC to deny all FY2013 Priority 2 (Internal Connections and Basic Maintenance) requests at the 90 percent discount level upon FCC approval. On February 24, the FCC authorized USAC to proceed. These denials will start with FY2013 Wave 41, dated March 5, 2014.

Previously USAC had been authorized to deny all Priority 2 applications at the 89 percent discount level and below. As a result, USAC will fund no Priority 2 applications for FY2013.

2/25/2014New NLAD API Specification Document


USAC has released version 1.6 of the API Specification document. Carriers are advised to log in to NLAD and download it from the "API Specification" link under the "Reports and Tools" menu section.

This version includes only changes to the documentation to better reflect the functionality of the API. There are no changes to the API functionality.

2/25/2014Skilled Nursing Facility Pilot Program Deferred


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced the deferral of the Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) Pilot Program, originally expected to be implemented in Funding Year 2014. The SNF Pilot Program, introduced in the Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Order (FCC 12-150), was intended to support broadband connections for skilled nursing facilities using telehealth applications that improve the quality and efficiency of health care delivery.

The FCC is reviewing comments solicited in the Technology Transitions Order Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) and is considering using part of the $50 million set aside for the SNF Pilot Program for consumer-oriented rural broadband experiments that would improve patient access to health care.

Updates about the SNF Pilot Program will be announced in the Rural Health Care Program’s Latest News and the RHC Circuit newsletter.

2/18/2014RHC Circuit 1Q 2014 Issued


The RHC Circuit for 1Q 2014 is now available. Sign up to receive the newsletter via email in the Subscription Center.

2/11/20142014 Federal Poverty Guidelines Released


On January 22, 2014, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released their annual update to the federal poverty guidelines in the Federal Register (Vol. 79, No. 14, January 22, 2013, pp. 3593-3594). Since households at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines may be eligible for Lifeline support, USAC has created a chart that outlines 135% of the federal poverty guidelines for 2014. ETCs should use this chart to update any Lifeline eligibility materials containing the federal poverty guidelines for 2014.

2/6/2014Beware of Email and Text Scams Offering Jobs with USAC


USAC does not send unsolicited emails. USAC's human resources department will reach out to you only if you have first contacted us through the USAC Careers Portal.

Any USAC human resources department emails will be from a "@usac.org" or "@agents.icims.com" email address. If you receive an unsolicited email that indicates the sender is representing USAC, please tell us about it.

We are aware of persons purporting to be named Michelle Burns, Samantha Brandon, Ray Herndon, Christy Maurice, and other aliases, falsely offering USAC employment opportunities.

1/29/2014CEO Scott Barash to Depart USAC February 14


USAC announces the departure of Acting Chief Executive Officer D. Scott Barash, effective February 14, 2014. Barash is leaving after more than 14 years at USAC, having served as Acting CEO since January 2006.

Read the press release.

1/29/2014Common Reporting and Filing Errors on FCC Form 555


Some reporting and filing errors common among carriers who file FCC Form 555 (Annual Lifeline Eligible Telecommunications Carrier Certification Form) can result in incorrect or late filings. Read below to learn about common errors so you can avoid these mistakes on your company's filing.

FCC Form 555 is due to USAC on January 31, 2014. Please be aware that the online filing system, E-File, will be down for maintenance today, January 29, between 2:00 and 2:30 PM EST.

Common Reporting Errors

Incorrect Entry in Column C
Column C should report the number of subscribers (claimed on the ETC's February 2013 FCC Form 497) that were initially enrolled in the Lifeline Program in either January or February 2013.

Example: An ETC claimed 25 Lifeline Program subscribers on its February 2013 FCC Form 497. A total of 23 subscribers enrolled during 2012 and two subscribers enrolled in 2013.

  • Column A should report the 25 subscribers claimed on the February 2013 FCC Form 497.
  • Column C should report the two subscribers that were initially enrolled in 2013.

Incorrect Entry for Columns D and I
Column D should report the number of subscribers claimed on the ETC's February 2013 FCC Form 497 that are subject to recertification (i.e., those subscribers who were claimed, but not initially enrolled, in the Lifeline Program in either January or February of 2013). Here is how Column D is calculated (using the numbers from the example above):

  • Column A (25 subscribers) minus Column C (two subscribers) = Column D (23 subscribers). Column I is a subset of Column D and should report the number of subscribers that would be subject to recertification had they not de-enrolled prior to the recertification attempt (for any reason).

Common Online Filing Errors

Errors in Saving Initials
FCC Form 497 Users should not enter initials as they are preparing the submission for certification by the 497 Officer. During the certification review, the 497 Officer should not select "Save" at any point. Every time you select "Save Draft," all initials boxes will clear. The 497 Officer should instead navigate between tabs (located at the top of each page) instead of clicking "Save Draft" at the bottom of each completed page. Once the review is complete and all appropriate sections have been certified by the 497 Officer, they will be able to submit the completed form from the "Signature" tab.

Study Area Code (SAC) Not Retained
If the E-File system is not retaining your company's SAC, the issue is likely that the user has not selected "Add/Update" on the "Header" tab. On the "Header" tab, you must click the "Add/Update" button so that the system formally accepts the information. Then, the SAC will appear in dropdown boxes on other tabs.

Section 2 Data Error
Each time data is entered into a data row in Section 2 the "Add/Update" button must be selected so that the system formally accepts the entry. Every data box on this tab must have an entry—if there is nothing to report for that SAC, you must add a zero. If you are filing for multiple SACs, you must enter a value for each SAC.

More Information

The best resource for completing FCC Form 555 are the form instructions and online filing instructions. More information about FCC Form 555 is available in the Step 8: Annual ETC Certification section of our website. A recording of the FCC Form 555 webinar presented earlier this month is available in the online learning library.

If you have additional questions about FCC Form 555, please email us.

1/29/2014Webinar Slides Now Available: FCC Form 460 for Consortia


The presentation slides for today's webinar, FCC Form 460 for Consortia, are now available.

1/27/2014NLAD Rollout Webinar on January 29


Please join the Lifeline Program staff for a webinar about rolling out the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD). There will be five webinars total, each presenting the same information, and USAC strongly recommends that all carriers attend the webinar at least once. Carriers are advised to attend a webinar prior to their group's rollout date.

1/20/2014Join Us For a Webinar About FCC Form 460 for HCF Program Consortia


You are invited to join the RHC Program staff for a webinar about FCC Form 460 (Eligibility and Registration Form), the first form in the application process for consortia in the Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program. After the form walk-through and discussion of agenda items, the RHC Program staff will answer questions from the audience.