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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.

6/29/2016Support Calculations for Budget Control Mechanism


USAC announces support calculations for budget control mechanism as required by the FCC’s Rate-of-Return Reform Order. Please see the Budget Control Mechanism for Rate of Return Carriers page for more information.

6/29/2016E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Currently Unavailable


The  E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) is currently unavailable.  We are working to resolve system issues users may encounter today. At this time, users may be unable to log in, or to file, certify, and respond to requests from the Reviews team via the EPC. We apologize for any inconvenience and will keep this space updated with additional updates as they become available.

6/24/2016FCC Annual Reporting Requirements for All Consortia due September 30


The FCC released a Public Notice specifying Funding Year (FY) 2015 annual reporting requirements for Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) and Pilot Program consortia. 


For FY2015, RHC Program consortia are required to submit additional information for annual reports using an Excel template available for download on the USAC website to supplement information collected on RHC Program application forms. HCF and Pilot Program consortia must submit to USAC the types of telehealth applications supported by the RHC Program. Pilot Program consortia must also report to USAC the number of competitive bids received and an explanation of how each winning bid was selected. Learn more about annual report requirements and download the Excel template you need to fill out and submit:


Why Annual Reports?
Consortia must submit annual reports to help USAC and the FCC understand the progress made each year in meeting the program’s performance goals to:
Increase broadband access for healthcare providers, particularly those serving rural areas,
Foster development and deployment of broadband healthcare networks, and 
Maximize program cost-effectiveness.


Need Help? Contact Us!
For immediate assistance, contact the RHC Program Help Desk via email or call us at (800) 453-1546.

6/24/2016News Brief Issued


The 06/24/2016 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.

6/23/2016E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Outage Due to System Maintenance: Sunday, June 26


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) and the EPC Training Site will be unavailable from 7:00-10:00 PM ET, Sunday, June 26 for monthly system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to log in, or to file, certify, and search for certain forms via the EPC. We apologize for any inconvenience.

6/16/2016FCC Announces Third Quarter 2016 Contribution Factor Remains 17.9 Percent


The Federal Communications Commission released a Public Notice (DA 16-658) announcing that the proposed universal service contribution factor for the third quarter (July-September) of 2016 will be 0.179 or 17.9 percent.

6/16/2016NLAD Outage Due to System Maintenance: June 18


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable due to scheduled system maintenance on Saturday, June 18 from 2:00-6:00 AM ET.

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. 
 

6/16/2016E-File Outage for FCC Form 481 Filers Due to System Maintenance: Monday, June 20


USAC's E-File system for FCC Form 481 filers will be unavailable Monday, June 20, from 7:00-9:00 AM ET, for system maintenance. The online FCC Form 481 will not be accessible for contributors or service providers. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, and search for FCC Form 690 online. We apologize for any inconvenience.

6/16/2016Special Edition News Brief - USAC Releases First Funding Wave for FY2016


The 06/16/2016 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.


6/10/2016Second Quarter 2016 LI Program News Issued


The second quarter 2016 issue of LI Program News is now available.

6/8/2016USAC to Fully Fund All Eligible FY2016 Service Requests


The FCC issued a Public Notice (DA 16-629) directing USAC to fully fund all eligible FY2016 category 1 and category 2 service requests. The FCC stated that there is sufficient funding available to fully meet the E-rate Program’s estimated demand under the current FY2016 cap of $3.939 billion and the $1.9 billion in unused funds from previous funding years. 

6/8/2016Monthly 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. 


To view the most current funding information as of May 31, 2016, check out the funding information pages for the Telecommunications Program and HCF Program.

In order to keep you informed about progress towards reaching the funding caps for Funding Year (FY) 2013, FY2014, FY2015, and FY2016, RHC Program staff will continue to update these funding cap progress web pages. Estimated commitments are based on HCP funding requests, and are subject to change after USAC review of forms.

6/7/2016FCC Form 481 Now Ready for Certification


As announced in a Public Notice (DA 16-601), released on May 31, 2016, the FCC Form 481 has been OMB-approved. As such, the certify button and bulk certification options are now active and carriers can make their final certifications.

This filing is required for all ETCs participating in the High Cost and/or Lifeline programs with the exception of participants in Phase I Mobility Fund [section 54.313(k)]. FCC Form 481 is due Friday, July 1, 2016

FCC Form 481 Templates and Resources
Eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) can log into E-File and access the FCC Form 481. USAC has also posted the FCC Form 481 Template (PDF version), filing instructions, and all necessary upload templates to our website. 

While the names of these files on our website have been updated to reflect the approval of the form, the content has not changed as a result of the approval. These can all be found on the High Cost Forms and Lifeline Forms pages. 

In addition, a recording of the webinar held about this year's FCC Form 481 submission may be accessed on the USAC website.

6/7/2016June 2016 HC Reporter Issued


The June 2016 HC Reporter is now available. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

6/7/2016FY2015 Funding Request Forms Due June 30


To claim RHC Program funding for Funding Year 2015 (July 1, 2015 - June 30, 2016), healthcare providers (HCPs) must complete their funding request forms by Thursday, June 30, 2016.

Submit the Form by June 30
To meet the deadline, you must submit a complete form by June 30. USAC highly recommends submitting the form as early as possible.

6/7/2016FY2016 Demand Estimate Filed with FCC


USAC’s FY2016 Demand Estimate for the E-rate Program is $3.609 billion. Under this estimate, $2.330 billion is for Category 1 services and $1.279 billion for Category 2 services.  This estimate is based on total funds requested during the first FCC Form 471 filing window, $3.175 billion, and a projected amount of $434 million for the second filing window.

Funding Year 2016 runs from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.

6/7/2016FCC Provides Guidance to Incremental Support Recipients Regarding Validation of Compliance


On June 3, 2016, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 16-618) providing guidance to price cap carriers that accepted Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase I incremental support regarding upcoming validation of compliance for Phase I incremental support. In response to informal inquiries from CAF Phase I incremental support recipients, the FCC provided guidance about the types of documentation that recipients should be prepared to produce upon request. Examples of potentially relevant documentation would include, but not be limited to: 


•      Engineering studies, 
•      Construction schedules, 
•      Records of plant placed in service, 
•      Network maps, 
•      Advertising materials, and/or
•      Customer subscription records. 


Carriers should be prepared to produce their capital improvement plan from the time period immediately pre-dating the acceptance of CAF Phase I incremental support for either round. Carriers also should be prepared to produce documentation demonstrating the steps taken to determine an area was not already served according to the then-current National Broadband Map or slated to become served as a BIP or BTOP project, to the best of their knowledge. Carriers that accepted funding in the second round to deploy to locations shown on the then current National Broadband Map as already served by them with 3 Mbps/768 kbps should be prepared to produce documentation that those locations were served at the time of acceptance through a copper-fed digital subscriber line access multiplexer.


6/3/2016Invitation to Webinar: Lifeline Program Update


Join us to hear updates about the Lifeline Program, including the 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order and the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD). During the webinars, you can ask questions and participate in a collaborative dialog with USAC and carriers throughout the industry.

Register now for the Lifeline Program Update Webinar on June 8, 2016 @ 3:00 PM ET.

During the webinar, the Lifeline Program staff will discuss:

  • Voice and broadband benefit port freeze rules
  • Rolling recertification process
  • Questions submitted in advance
  • Live audience Q&A

We look forward to hearing your questions and comments!

Q&A and Event Resources
If we don't have time to answer your question during the live event, or need to conduct research to provide an answer, we'll post a list of questions and answers next to the recording. Visit the Lifeline Program Update Webinars page to find the webinar recording, slide deck, and list of questions and answers for each event.

Additional Information
More information is available on the Lifeline Program Trainings & Outreach section of our website. Please submit questions and comments in advance to the Lifeline Program. For webinar assistance, email USAC Outreach.

6/3/2016E-File Outage for FCC Form 481 Filers Due to System Maintenance: Monday, June 6


USAC's E-File system for FCC Form 481 filers will be unavailable Monday, June 6, from 4:00-6:00 PM ET, for system maintenance. The online FCC Form 481 will not be accessible for contributors or service providers. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, and search for FCC Form 690 online. We apologize for any inconvenience.

6/1/2016FCC Form 481 Approved by OMB


On May 31, 2016, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 16-601) announcing the approval of FCC Form 481 by the Office of Management and Budget.

6/1/2016Retirement of Current API for Dispute Resolutions


Beginning today, June 1, 2016, at 5:00 PM ET, USAC will no longer support the current resolution request API in the National Lifeline Accountability Database's pre-production and production environments. Only dispute resolutions submitted through the new API will be accepted starting today at 5:00 PM ET.

Please review the "Submit Resolution Request" section of the API Specification guide in NLAD for further details. For more information on the NLAD dispute resolution process, please visit our website.

5/27/2016Notice to Consortia Filing FCC Forms 471


RESOLVED: Consortia that file an FCC Form 471 after May 26 will receive a popup message immediately after they certify their form telling them that the form is out of window. This message is incorrect, and we are working to get it fixed as soon as possible.

If you are filing for a consortium, you can verify in your EPC news feed or in your form display that the status of your form is “Certified In Window.”

5/27/2016E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Outage Due to System Maintenance: Sunday, May 29


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) will be unavailable from 3:00-6:00 AM ET on Sunday, May 29, for system maintenance. The USAC website, including other applications and tools that are not accessed through EPC will not be affected. We apologize for any inconvenience.

5/25/2016Puerto Rico Duplicate Resolution De-Enroll Report Available May 26; De-Enroll Subscribers by June 3


On Thursday, May 26, 2016, the Duplicate Resolution De-Enroll Reports for carriers in Puerto Rico will be available in the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD). The report will include results from the duplicate subscriber selection process that ended May 18, 2016.

USAC will de-enroll subscriber records that were not selected on Thursday, May 26, 2016, the same day the report becomes available.

Carriers must de-enroll subscriber records listed on the Duplicate Resolution De-Enroll Report from their own internal company listings by Friday, June 3, 2016.

For additional information, visit the Duplicate Subscriber Resolution for Puerto Rico page on our website.

How to Pull the Duplicate Resolution De-Enroll Report From NLAD
Be sure to use Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer to view the report:

  1. Log in to the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD),
  2. On the left navigation pane, under the "Report and Tools" section, select "Reports,"
  3. Select "Duplicate Resolution De-Enroll Report,"
  4. Select the study area code (SAC),
  5. Select "Duplicate Subscriber,"
  6. Select your preferred report format - display or CSV,
  7. Click "Submit." 

5/23/2016Extended CSB Hours This Week


The FCC Form 471 application filing window for schools and school districts closes this week at 11:59 PM EDT on Thursday, May 26. If you need assistance, call the Client Service Bureau (CSB) as soon as possible. Be mindful of the times they are busiest (see below).

Call: (888) 203-8100
Online: Submit a customer service case in EPC or Submit a Question

The Client Service Bureau (CSB) will be open the following hours during the last week of the window:

  • Saturday and Sunday, May 21-22, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM EDT
  • Monday-Wednesday, May 23-25, 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM EDT
  • Thursday, May 26 at 8:00 AM through Friday, May 27 at 12:30 AM EDT

Remember that the following times are our busiest:

  • Weekdays from 11:00 AM to12:30 PM and 2:30 to 4:00 PM EDT

We encourage you to call with questions as soon as possible so that we can provide answers promptly.

5/23/2016Special Edition News Brief - Tips for Last-minute Filers (Schools and School Districts)


The 05/23/2016 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.  

5/20/2016Time Running Out to Get a Full Year of Funding in FY2016


Only two weeks remain for healthcare providers (HCPs) to start their RHC Program competitive bidding period in time to receive a full 12 months of funding for the upcoming funding year, FY2016 (July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2017).

To meet the deadline to be eligible for a full 12 months of funding, USAC must receive, process, and post your service request form by June 2. If you haven't submitted this form for FY2016, please do so as soon as possible! Note: HCPs can submit the service request forms at any time during the funding year, but if the form posts after June 2, support will be pro-rated. 

  • To initiate the competitive bidding process* for the Healthcare Connect Fund Program, submit the service request form, FCC Form 461.
  • To initiate the competitive bidding process* for the Telecom Program, submit the service request form, FCC Form 465

*Healthcare providers with competitive bidding exemptions as individual HCPs or competitive bidding exemptions as consortia do not need to submit these forms.

Allow 5+ Days for USAC to Process and Post Your Form
Processing times vary, but, in general, it takes USAC 5+ business days to receive, process, and post a service request form by June 2 (complex applications, including consortium service requests and individual HCP service requests with RFPs, can take longer). Service request forms are processed in the order in which they are received.

Because of this, we encourage you to submit these forms as soon as possible. If you submit the form on May 30 or later, it most likely will not be processed and posted by June 2.**

**Note: Why June 2? FY2016 begins on July 1, 2016, and HCPs are required to complete a 28-day competitive bidding process to receive RHC Program funding. To complete the 28-day period by July 1 (the first day of the funding year), your form must be processed and posted by June 2.

5/17/2016Tariff Review Plan Templates


USAC has developed submission templates to help you with your Tariff Review Plans, due June 16, 2016. Access the templates on the Handouts & Reference page. Completed templates should be submitted with your TRP.

5/17/2016May 2016 HC Reporter Issued


The May 2016 HC Reporter is now available. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

5/16/2016Changes to the EPC and Apply Online Pages


This week, USAC is rolling out some changes to the web content around application filing. Our team has heard from many of you that critical information is hard to find and that certain tasks that make sense to legacy users, such as "Apply Online," are very confusing to new users. So we've recreated the "E-rate Productivity Center" page as the "Apply for E-rate" page. 

Now, you can access:

  • All previous and current funding year links from one page,
  • See the entire application process broken down into four easy steps, and
  • Access resources such as filing guides and videos associated with each step.

Explore the new Apply for E-rate page now.

We've also made some changes to the FY2016 Filing Window page. Go here to learn filing date updates, access all EPC filing guidance, and explore our blog.

We hope these improvements help you, but we also welcome any additional feedback you may have on these pages.

5/12/2016Can't Find Your Service Provider's SPIN/498 ID?


If you haven't been able to locate your service provider's SPIN (also known as a 498 ID), you can still complete your funding requests. There's now an interim SPIN available that you can use as a place holder for your service provider's actual SPIN. The interim SPIN is: 143666666. Enter this number in the SPIN (498 ID) field on the FCC Form 471.

If your service provider's actual SPIN becomes available before Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) review, you can submit a RAL correction through your online account to update the SPIN. Otherwise, you can update the SPIN during the Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) application review process.

5/6/2016Invitation to Webinar: Lifeline Modernization Order Overview


On April 27, 2016, the FCC released the Lifeline Modernization Order. Join USAC on Wednesday, May 11, 2016, for a webinar to discuss the changes in the order. 

Lifeline Modernization Order Overview Webinar
Wednesday, May 11, 2016, 10:00 AM ET
Register Now

Webinar Agenda
During the webinar, the Lifeline Program staff will discuss:  

  • Overview of the Lifeline Modernization Order,
  • Upcoming implementation dates, and
  • Open Q&A

We look forward to hearing your questions and comments. Please submit them in advance of the webinar on the registration form, or via email

Starting on May 11, the Lifeline Program will hold a monthly webinar to share updates about the program and connect with participants and stakeholders. If needed, we'll adjust the schedule to hold webinars more frequently.

Audience Participation
To foster a collaborative discussion with our audience, we will accept verbal questions during the live event. The moderator will call on attendees who wish to ask a question one at a time during the open Q&A.

To ask a question, you will need a microphone or telephone. If you don't have a computer microphone, once you're in the webinar session use the "audio" section of the webinar control panel to switch to a telephone.

Can't Make It?
This webinar will be recorded and posted to the Lifeline Program's Online Learning Library within two business days of the event.

5/6/2016FCC Releases Density Data


On May 3, 2016, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 16-478) announcing the release of rate-of-return study area density data. Density will be used in implementing various reforms adopted by the FCC in the Rate-of-Return Reform Order.

4/29/2016FCC Releases Lifeline Modernization Order


On April 27, 2016, the FCC released the Lifeline Modernization Order (the Order).

An overview of some of the changes can be found in this FCC News Release.

USAC is currently reviewing the Order and will provide more information as it becomes available. In the upcoming weeks, we will host a webinar series to discuss the impacts of the Order, and kick off a collaborative dialog with our stakeholders around implementation alternatives and considerations. 

Join Us: Lifeline Modernization Order Webinar May 11

Join us on Wednesday, May 11, for a webinar that will discuss impacts of the Order.

Register Here: Lifeline Modernization Order Webinar
Wednesday, May 11, 2016, 10:00 AM EDT

4/27/2016Lifeline Consumer Recertification: Elect USAC by May 2


Did you know that your carrier can elect USAC to conduct the annual re-certification process on its behalf? USAC's recertification service comes at no cost to you, and guarantees compliance with all Lifeline Program recertification rules. 

If you'd like to elect USAC, complete the recertification election spreadsheet and send it to USAC via email by Monday, May 2, 2016.

About the Consumer (Subscriber) Recertification Process
Your carrier is required to recertify each of your Lifeline subscribers' eligibility annually. You can either elect USAC (by May 2, 2016), or conduct your own recertification process

Important note: USAC does not provide live customer support and will direct subscribers to your customer service for assistance.

4/27/2016Second Quarter 2016 RHC Circuit Issued


The 2Q2016 RHC Circuit has been issued. To subscribe, please visit our subscription center.

4/27/2016Overview of the FCC's Rate-of-Return Reforms Webinar FAQs Available


After the webinar, "Overview of the FCC's Rate-of-Return Reforms" (presented April 4, 2016), the FCC prepared written answers to some of the questions submitted during the event.

An initial batch of answers to the audience's Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are now available on the FCC's Connect America Fund page, or you can download them here.

The FCC is still reviewing some of the questions received during the webinar, and will update the FAQ document with additional answers over the next few weeks.

Thank you again for your thoughtful questions during the webinar. Resources from the event are available in USAC's Online Learning Library. And if you have additional questions about the Rate-of-Return reforms, please send them to HC Questions.

4/27/2016Special Edition News Brief - New Process for Receiving and Answering PIA Questions


The 04/27/2016 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.  

4/27/2016Mel Blackwell, Vice-President of the Schools and Libraries Program, to retire from USAC July 1


See the letter from Mel Blackwell to the E-rate Program community here.

4/21/2016E-rate Program Service Provider Trainings Have Been Rescheduled from May to June


Due to the FY2016 filing window extension, the E-Rate Program trainings have been rescheduled from the original dates in May to the following dates in June. Note that the hotel venues have not changed:

  • June 20 in Los Angeles at the Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel
  • June 30 in Atlanta at the Renaissance Concourse Atlanta Airport Hotel

 

USAC is sensitive to the inconvenience that this rescheduling may cause, and is aware that some participants will have to adjust travel plans. We apologize for this change and for the short notice. Our goal is to provide you with the most helpful information to ensure successful participation in the E-rate Program. To fulfill that goal, rescheduling the training was necessary. 

 

By late June, we will be much better suited to provide:

  • Exact details on how the July 1 “BEAR transition” will work – what applicants have to do, when service providers can stop approving BEARs, and how service provider notifications will occur,
  • Helpful guidance on using EPC--SPI forms, visibility of BEAR forms, and other invoicing functions, and
  • Specific updates about the new platform for online search functions and capabilities, which service providers will use to get insight into FY2015 and FY2016 funding requests and commitments.

 

A note to those who registered prior to April 21 for a training:

If you registered prior to April 21 for a training, your registration has been automatically transferred to the new June date for the city you selected. You will receive information via email about this transfer. If you had already made your hotel reservations, your reservation will be transferred automatically; therefore, if you are unable to attend on the new date, please contact the hotel to cancel your room reservation.

 

If you have any follow-up questions or concerns, please contact USAC Training.

 

4/20/2016Special Edition News Brief - Tips for Completing the Bulk Upload Templates


The 04/20/2016 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.

4/19/2016Special Edition News Brief - Updated Connectivity Questions Worksheet Available Tomorrow


The 04/19/2016 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.

4/15/2016FY2016 Window Extended


Today, USAC announced that the FY2016 application filing window is extended to allow applicants more time to submit their applications.

First, we are extending the window for all applicants by four weeks with a new closing date of May 26, 2016. With the recent deployment of bulk upload templates and additional updates and solutions coming over the next few weeks, we believe that the IT systems will be sufficiently stable to allow most applicants, and all schools and school districts, sufficient time to file their applications by May 26.

Second, when the window closes on May 26, we will open a second filing window for consortia and libraries, which will close on July 21, 2016. We recognize that consortia and libraries are unable to complete their applications until their member/related school district(s) finalize their discount rates in the system.

Please read the special edition News Brief for more information.   

4/14/2016Comments on Rate-of-Return USF Reform FNPRM Due May 12


On April 12, 2016, the FCC published the FNPRM attached to the March 30, 2016 Rate-of-Return USF Reform Order in the Federal Register. The FNPRM seeks comments on proposed rule changes to the FCC’s accounting and affiliate transaction rules for ratemaking and USF support purposes “to eliminate inefficiencies and provide guidance to rate-of-return carriers regarding the FCC’s expectations for appropriate expenditures.” The FNPRM also seeks comments on: methods for reducing support in competitive areas; increasing support for RoR carriers in tribal lands and unserved areas; measures to improve the operation of the current rate-of-return system; and streamlining ETC annual reporting requirements. Comments are due May 12; replies due June 13.

4/13/2016Reminder for API Users! Retirement of Current API for Dispute Resolution


Beginning June 1, 2016, USAC will no longer support the current resolution request API in the NLAD pre-production and production environments. Only dispute resolutions submitted through the new API will be accepted after this date. 

Please review the "Submit Resolution Request" section of the API Specification guide in NLAD for further details. 

More information about the NLAD Dispute Resolution Process, is available on our website.

4/12/2016Critical Deadlines Approaching for Both FY2015 and FY2016


Spring is a critical time for health care providers participating in the Rural Health Care (RHC) Program, because important deadlines are coming up for both Funding Year (FY) 2015 and Funding Year (FY) FY2016.

FY2015 Funding Requests Due June 30, 2016
Health care providers are required to submit their funding requests for FY2015 (July 2015 - June 2016) by Thursday, June 30, 2016. 

  • If you participate in the Healthcare Connect Fund Program, use FCC Form 462.
  • If you participate in the Telecom Program, use FCC Form 466

USAC recommends submitting these forms as soon as possible so there's enough time to seek help if you need it, respond to USAC's questions about your application, and correct any mistakes before June 30. And, the earlier you submit the form, the faster USAC can process your request and issue the funding.

Start FY2016 Applications As Soon as Possible
There's no time like the present to start your RHC Program application for FY2016 (July 2016 -June 2017). The earlier you apply, the more likely it is that your form will be processed and posted by June 2, the last posting day to receive a full 12 months of funding. 

  • To apply for the Healthcare Connect Fund Program, start with FCC Form 461
  • To apply for the Telecom Program, start with FCC Form 465

Processing times vary, but in general, it takes USAC 5 to 15 days to receive, process and post a form by June 2 (complex applications can take longer). Because of this, we encourage health care providers to file these forms as soon as possible. 

Health care providers can start their application at any time; if the form is posted after June 2, support will be pro-rated. Health care providers with competitive bidding exemptions do not need to file these forms. 

4/11/2016Changes to Puerto Rico Duplicate Subscriber Resolution


USAC attempted to contact Lifeline subscribers in Puerto Rico that were identified as having more than one benefit with a letter containing instructions about how to select a single Lifeline Program service provider. USAC has determined that subscribers in Puerto Rico need additional time to make their selection, due to the letter response rate.

The call in period will now end Wednesday, May 18, 2016.

Instead of sending subscribers a reminder postcard, USAC will conduct two automated calls (in Spanish, with the option to select English), reminding them to choose their preferred carrier. The first call will occur the week of April 11, 2016 and the second call will occur the week of May 9, 2016.

4/11/2016Carriers Can Elect USAC to Perform Lifeline Program Annual Recertification on their Behalf


Carriers that participate in the Lifeline Program are required to recertify the eligibility of each of their Lifeline subscribers annually.

Carriers can elect USAC to conduct the re-certification process on their behalf, at no cost. If you'd like to elect USAC, notify us by Monday, May 2, 2016

Ready to Elect USAC?
To elect USAC to conduct the Lifeline Program recertification process on your behalf, complete the recertification election spreadsheet and send it to USAC via email by Monday, May 2, 2016

Carriers that did not elect USAC last year and do not make an election by May 2 will be responsible for conducting their own recertification process.

Benefits of Electing USAC to Perform Recertification
There are many benefits to electing USAC to conduct the recertification process on your behalf. By electing USAC, you will:

  • Reduce your administrative burden,
  • Save money (USAC-elected recertification is at no cost to the carrier),
  • Comply with all Lifeline Program recertification rules, and
  • Provide multiple recertification options to your subscribers.

USAC-elected recertification has a proven track record; the recertification rate for carriers who elected USAC in 2015 was 73%.

How USAC-Elected Recertification Works
USAC-elected recertification is a joint effort between USAC and the carrier. Success of the recertification process is dependent on the carrier's active participation.

USAC may ask the carrier to distribute billing inserts (provided by USAC) and help familiarize subscribers with USAC and the recertification process. More details are available on the Recertification Election Option page.

Important note: USAC does not provide live customer support during recertification. Subscribers will be directed to the carrier to troubleshoot any issues with the recertification process.

4/11/2016Updated A-CAM Results and Competitive Coverage Challenge Process


On April 28, 2016, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 16-378) announcing the release of a new version of the Alternative Connect America Cost Model (A-CAM) and commencing the challenge process to competitive coverage. Comments to challenge coverage data for competitors will be due April 28, 2016. 

4/11/2016Special Edition News Brief - Two EPC Improvements to the Online FCC Form 471


The 04/11/2016 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.

4/9/2016Special Edition News Brief - Special Update for Educational Service Agencies


The 04/09/2016 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.

4/6/2016498/499 Spotlight Newsletter 2Q2016 Issued


The 2Q2016 498/499 Spotlight 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.

4/6/2016Search Posted Services Tools Now Combined


The Search Posted Services tools for individual health care providers and consortia on the Healthcare Connect Fund website are now combined into a single search tool; service providers may now search for both individual and consortium postings from a single search tool. 

The updated search tool is available here: RHC Program Search Posted Services

Currently, the Search Tools section of our website shows two options under "Search Posted Services" (choose between consortia and individual HCPs). Beginning Wednesday, April 13, the "search posted services" page for consortia will be removed, and search functionality will only be available from the updated search tool.

How to Use the Updated Search Tool
To search for service requests, visit the updated Search Posted Services web page and select either "Individual" or "Consortium" from the "Application Type" drop-down menu.

The search results will show a summary of each healthcare provider whose service request matches the search criteria entered, with the option to view additional information by clicking the "details" hyperlink for the selected HCPs. 

More Information
For more information about Requests for Services, visit the Respond to Service Requests web page for service providers on the Healthcare Connect Fund Program website.

4/6/2016FCC Announces the Results of 2016 Urban Rate Survey


On April 5, 2016, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 16-362) announcing the results of the 2016 urban rate survey for fixed voice and broadband services. Under the FCC’s rules ILEC ETCs must report in their annual FCC Form 481 the number of residential service lines for which the sum of the local rate and state fees is below the rate floor set in this Public Notice.

4/6/2016April 2016 HC Reporter Issued


The April 2016 HC Reporter is now available. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

4/5/2016My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance: Thursday, April 7


The Rural Health Care Program’s My Portal will be unavailable Thursday, April 7 from 7:00-7:30 AM ET, due to 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.

4/5/2016Special Edition News Brief - FCC Form 471 Funding Request Bulk Upload Templates Available


The 04/05/2016 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.

4/1/2016FCC Form 481 Now Available; Due July 1


USAC is pleased to announce that eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) can now log into E-File and access FCC Form 481, the Carrier Annual Reporting Data Collection Form, which is due Friday, July 1, 2016 for Program Year 2017. 

FCC Form 481 is required for all ETCs participating in the High Cost and/or Lifeline programs, with the exception of participants who only receive Phase I Mobility Fund (Section 54.313(k)).

USAC has posted drafts of these items on the High Cost Forms and Lifeline Forms pages:

  • FCC Form 481 Template
  • Filing instructions
  • Upload templates

These documents will be posted as drafts until Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval is complete. Upon approval, USAC will post updated versions of these documents and notify carriers.

Carriers May Begin, but Not Certify, FCC Form 481 Filing
Please note that carriers may begin the filing, but will not be able to certify the filing.

Currently, the form and instructions are still pending OMB approval, and as a result, the "certify" button and bulk certify options will be disabled until approval has been made. 

USAC will send notification when the "certify" buttons are activated.

3/31/20162015 USAC Annual Report Now Available


USAC's 2015 Annual Report highlights the strategic groundwork put in place to support the modernization orders from the FCC. USAC developed a strategy and approach to maximize program impact and amplify our dedication to the mission of universal service. The Annual Report demonstrates these strategic shifts and showcases detailed supporting numbers for each program area.

3/31/2016FCC Announces Webinar on Rate-of-Return Reform: April 4


The FCC will host a webinar on Monday, April 4, 2016, from 2:00-3:30 PM ET, to provide a summary of the reforms to the high-cost support mechanisms for rate-of-return carriers adopted in the Rate-of-Return Reform Order. Interested parties may register here.

3/28/2016Funding Year 2016 FCC Form 470 Filing Deadline: Friday, April 1, 2016


Posting the FCC Form 470 (Description of Services Requested and Certification Form) opens the E-rate Program competitive bidding process.

Friday, April 1, 2016, is the last day applicants can post an FY2016 FCC Form 470 in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) and meet the 28-day requirement before filing the FCC Form 471 (due April 29). If you are required to file an FCC Form 470 but have not yet done so, please promptly file your form.

These resources are available to assist you:

3/25/2016Pre-Production Release of New Error Message Code


A pre-production release of a new error message code and description is now implemented in the National Lifeline Accountability Database. 

This pre-production release includes:

  • "NO_FIELDS_ARE_UPDATED" error message code will be given when a subscriber record is not updated during a transaction edit request.

A summary of this release is available in the Pre-Production Release Notes. The updated API Specifications guide containing the updated error message code and description is now available in NLAD Pre-Production environment. 

The pre-production environment will be available for testing and training for this change and will be replicated into the NLAD production environment on or after Monday, April 11, 2016.

3/25/2016FCC Form 690 Now Available in E-File - Due July 1, 2016


Eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) can now access the FCC Form 690, the Mobility Fund Phase 1 Annual Report Form, in E-File.

Log in now: FCC Form 690 in E-File

The FCC Form 690 is required for all participants in Phase I Mobility Fund [Section 54.313(k)]. The annual filing is due Friday, July 1, 2016. USAC has also posted the following resources on the High Cost Program Forms page:

  • A PDF version of FCC Form 690,
  • OMB-approved filing instructions and an online filing user guide,
  • A video series about filing FCC Form 690, and
  • The necessary upload template.

Please note that the FCC Form 690 is required for all participants in Phase I Mobility Fund [Section 54.313(k)], including 902 auction winners.

3/23/2016Special Edition News Brief - Schools with Only Part-time Students


The 03/23/2016 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.

3/15/2016Special Edition News Brief - New Option for Answering Connectivity Questions for FY2016


The 03/15/2016 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.

3/11/2016March 2016 HC Reporter Issued


The March 2016 HC Reporter is now available. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

3/11/2016FCC Announces Second Quarter 2016 Contribution Factor Decrease to 17.9 Percent


The Federal Communications Commission released a Public Notice (DA 16-266) announcing that the proposed universal service contribution factor for the second quarter (April-June) of 2016 will be 0.179 or 17.9 percent.

3/7/2016E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Outage Due to System Maintenance: Monday, March 7


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) and the EPC Training Site will be unavailable from 6:00-9:00 PM ET, Monday, March 7, 2016 for system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to log in, or to file, certify, and search for certain forms via the EPC. We apologize for any inconvenience.

10/16/2015498/499 Spotlight Newsletter 4Q2015 Issued


The 4Q2015 498/499 Spotlight 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.