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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.

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

4/28/2016E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Outage Due to System Maintenance: Sunday, May 1


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) and the EPC Training Site will be unavailable from 7:00-10:00 PM ET, Sunday, May 1 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.

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.

4/27/2016Lifeline 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.  

4/22/2016News Brief Issued


The 04/22/2016 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.

4/21/2016RESOLVED: USAC Fax Lines Down


RESOLVED: The issue with USAC's fax lines was resolved at 5:00 PM on Friday, April 22, 2016.

USAC’s fax lines are currently non-operational. If you submitted an FCC Form 497 or an FCC Form 498 via fax today, April 21, 2016, we may not have received it. To resubmit your filing, please email us your FCC Form 497 or FCC Form 498 and note in the subject line that it is a “Fax Resubmission.” All other forms should be filed electronically.

We are working with our provider to resolve this issue. We apologize for any inconvenience.  

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.

 

4/20/2016My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance: Friday, April 22


The Rural Health Care Program’s My Portal will be unavailable Friday, April 22 from 7:00-8:00 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.

4/20/2016Special 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.

4/13/2016Apply Online Outage Due to System Maintenance: Friday, April 15


The Schools and Libraries Program's Apply Online page, including Submit a Question, online forms, and most search tools will be unavailable beginning at 8:00 PM ET Friday, April 15 through 2:00 AM ET Saturday, April 16, for system maintenance. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, and search for certain forms online. We apologize for any inconvenience. The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) will not be affected by this outage.

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.

4/13/2016NLAD Outage Due to System Maintenance: April 16


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable due to scheduled system maintenance on Saturday, April 16 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. 

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.

4/7/2016E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Outage Due to System Maintenance: Sunday, April 10


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) will be unavailable from 7:00-10:00 PM ET, Sunday, April 10 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.

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.

3/31/2016E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Outage Due to System Maintenance: Sunday, April 3


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) and the EPC Training Site will be unavailable from 7:00-10:00 PM ET, Sunday, April 3 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.

3/30/2016E-File Outage for FCC Form 481 Filers Due to System Maintenance: Thursday, March 31


USAC's E-File system for FCC Form 481 filers will be unavailable Thursday, March 31, from 5:00-7:00 PM ET, for system maintenance. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, and search for FCC Form 481 online. We apologize for any inconvenience.

3/29/2016My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance: Thursday, March 31


The Rural Health Care Program’s My Portal will be unavailable Thursday, March 31 from 7:00-8:30 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.

3/29/2016E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Outage Due to System Maintenance: Wednesday, March 30


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) will be unavailable from 12:00-5:00 AM ET, Wednesday, March 30 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.

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.

3/1/20162016 FCC Form 499-A Now Available in E-File


The 2016 FCC Form 499-A (Annual Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet) is now available in E-File, USAC's online filing system. The form is due Friday, April 1, 2016.

FCC rules require all providers of telecommunications, including universal service fund de minimis exempt companies, to file 2016 FCC Form 499-A to report revenue data for the period of January 1, 2015, through December 31, 2015.

Visit USAC's website to learn more, view the 499-A user guide, or sign up for webinar training.

Late Filing Fees
Even if you are a de minimis company, filing FCC Form 499-A after the due date or failing to file will result in late filing fees imposed by the universal service fund as well as each of the funds named below. 

The universal service fund late filing fees of the greater of $100 per month or the U.S. prime rate plus 3.5 percent of the filer's monthly obligation (FCC 07-150). Each of the funds named below can impose their own late filing fees based on their own billing practices as well. 

Important Billing Information
The 12-month 2015 revenue data that will be reported on the 2016 FCC Form 499-A will be used to calculate the filing entity's contribution amount for the following funds:

  • Federal Universal Service Fund
    • True up of the previously filed quarterly FCC Form 499-Q submissions
  • Local Number Portability (LNP) Fund
    • Contributions for July 2016 - June 2017
  • North American Number Plan (NANP) Fund
    • Contributions for July 2016 - June 2017
  • Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund
    • Contributions for July 2016 - June 2017

Please review Table 1 of the Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet Instructions for a summary of which telecommunications providers are required to contribute to which support mechanisms.

How to File
On February 8, 2016, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 16-138) announcing the release of the 2016 FCC Form 499-A and instructions, which are available on the Contributor Forms page.

To file FCC Form 499-A online, follow these steps:

  1. On usac.org/cont, navigate to E-File and select the "Log in" button.
  2. Log in with your user ID and password. 
    • If you forgot your password, click the "Forgot Password" button to reset it instantly.
  3. Once you are logged in to the E-File system, click "Create New Form" in the top of the left-hand menu.
  4. On the "Form 499-Create New Form" page: 
    • Select "FCC Form 499-A for April 2016" as your filing.
    • Type in your Filer ID.
    • Click "Submit."
  5. A new 2016 FCC Form 499-A will open that you can fill out and submit online.

More Information
Visit the Contributors Filers page for more information, including who must file, when to file, what and how to file, how to make revisions, and details about late payments, DCIA, and Red Light.

Webinar Training Available
Join USAC this month for a 3-part webinar series about FCC Form 499-A, the Annual Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet.

View Events and Register: FCC Form 499-A Webinar Series
Live presentations on March 8, 10 and 15, 2016

Registration is available on the Contributors Trainings & Outreach page. All events are offered free of charge. These events will be recorded and posted to the Online Learning Library.

2/25/2016Special Edition News Brief - EPC Improvements and Enhancements to the Online FCC Form 471


The 02/25/2016 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.

2/22/2016First Quarter 2016 RHC Circuit Issued


The 1Q2016 RHC Circuit has been issued. To subscribe, please visit our subscription center.

2/19/2016Reminder! Document Retention Requirements Effective February 17, 2016


On February 17, 2016, the rule changes from the 2015 Lifeline Reform Order requiring carriers to retain documentation for eligibility and the NLAD resolution processes for disputes were posted to the Federal Register and became effective immediately. 

Related to the documentation for the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) resolution processes, carriers are now required to:

"retain documentation that was reviewed to verify subscriber information for the NLAD dispute resolution process. The NLAD dispute resolution process requires ETCs to review additional documentation to verify the identity or information of a subscriber who has failed the third-party identification verification, and address or age check for the NLAD" (FCC 15-71, para. 233). 

Carriers should continue to use the current method to submit dispute resolution requests through NLAD, but are now required to retain the documentation that was reviewed to verify the subscriber's identity and/or address. 

Questions about this, and all other rule changes, may be submitted to the USAC 2015 Lifeline Reform Order Q&A page. Please check back frequently for updates.

2/18/20162015 Lifeline Reform Order Published in the Federal Register


On February 17, 2016, the FCC published the rule changes from the 2015 Lifeline Reform Order in the Federal Register, and the exact effective dates for the changes can now be provided.


The following rule change became effective upon publication in the Federal Register on February 17, 2016:

The following rule changes become effective 180 days from publication in the Federal Register on August 15, 2016:

  • Resale of Lifeline [referenced in Public Notice DA 16-56 as “Updating the definition of eligible telecommunications carriers, direct service, and Lifeline” (47 CFR Sections 54.403, 54.400, 54.401)].
  • FCC Form 497 Snapshot Date – The first snapshot date after the rule becomes effective is September 1, 2016. Carriers must begin using the snapshot date on September 1, 2016, but are not required to wait until the deadline and may transition to using the first day of the month at any time.

For information on the final rule changes listed above, please visit our 2015 Lifeline Reform page. 

2/10/2016Edición Especial del Resumen de Noticias del Programa de Escuelas y Bibliotecas


The 02/10/2016 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.

2/9/2016FCC Announces Release of Contributor Annual and Quarterly Filing Forms


The FCC released a Public Notice (DA 16-138) announcing the release of the 2016 FCC Form 499-A and instructions as well as the 2016 FCC Form 499-Q and instructions. Copies of all forms and instructions can be found on the FCC's website

Filers are reminded that the FCC Forms 499-A and -Q can only be submitted to USAC online. The 2016 FCC Form 499-A is due April 1, 2016, and we plan to make it available to filers in E-File on or before March 1, 2016. We will make the May 2016 FCC Form 499-Q, due May 2, available online on or before April 1, 2016.

2/5/2016Webinar Registration Open! FCC Form 471 Walkthrough and E-rate Program Overview


Join USAC for a series of webinars about the FY2016 filing window, including an overview of the E-rate Program and a detailed walkthrough of how to complete a funding request (FCC Form 471) online in the E-rate Productivity Center.

View Events and Register: All Upcoming Webinar Events
Overview series begins February 16; FCC Form 471 series begins February 23

Can't make it to the webinars? Register anyway, and we’ll send you a link to the recording after the live presentation. The recording will also be posted in the Online Learning Library.

 

2/5/2016First Quarter 2016 LI Program News Issued


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

2/4/2016February 2016 HC Reporter Issued


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

2/3/2016Special Edition News Brief - Guidance Materials for the FY2016 Application Filing Window


The 02/03/2016 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.

2/2/2016Federal Poverty Guidelines Updated for 2016


On January 25, 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services published the 2016 Federal Poverty Guidelines in the Federal Register. Lifeline Program carriers should ensure their eligibility materials are updated to reflect the new Federal Poverty Guidelines for 2016. Federal Poverty Guidelines are typically updated each year in late January, and USAC releases a guide set at 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines shortly thereafter. 

1/29/2016Registration for FCC Form 499-A Webinars Now Available


USAC is presenting three (3) webinars in March 2016 about FCC Form 499-A, the Annual Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet. Visit the Contributors Training & Outreach page to view and register for the events, or sign up here:

March 8: What's New in the 2016 FCC Form 499-A
Changes to the form in 2016, including updated audit tips and new enhancements. Register now

March 10: Accessing the 2016 Form in E-File
An overview of E-File, USAC's online filing system, including a review the E-File interface, how to reset your password, add/remove users, and more. If you haven’t used the E-File system before, or find it difficult, this webinar is for you! Register Now

March 15: Filling Out the 2016 FCC Form 499-A, Line by Line 
An in-depth look at the 2016 FCC Form 499-A, including a discussion of each revenue line. Register now

Recordings will be available following these events in the Contributors Online Learning Library.

All telecommunications providers (including de minimis carriers) are required to submit FCC Form 499-A, which reports historical revenue data from 2015 and is due Friday, April 1, 2016. 

1/29/2016498/499 Spotlight Newsletter 1Q2016 Issued


The 1Q2016 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.

1/28/2016FCC Releases Public Notice Regarding the 2015 Lifeline Reform Order


On January 15, 2015, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 16-56), announcing OMB approval of several final rule changes from the 2015 Lifeline Reform Order. Updates to the FCC Form 497 Snapshot Date, Eligibility and Dispute Resolution Document Retention, and Resale of Lifeline rules will be published in the Federal Register on or after February 4, 2016.

The following rule change becomes effective once published in the Federal Register:

The following rule changes become effective 180 days from their publication in the Federal Register:

The remaining items in the Public Notice require no action by carriers. For information on the Final Rule changes listed above, please visit our 2015 Lifeline Reform page. USAC will communicate information regarding the remaining proposed rule changes contained in the Public Notice as they become available.

 

1/26/2016Special Edition News Brief - Dates of the E-rate Funding Year 2016 Application Filing Window


The 01/25/2016 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.

1/14/2016Submit Request for Services Forms for FY2016 RHC Program Funding


Healthcare providers can now begin their Rural Health Care (RHC) Program applications in My Portal for Funding Year (FY) 2016, which begins on July 1, 2016.

USAC began accepting FCC Forms 465 and 461 on January 1, 2016, (six months before the start of the funding year) so that applicants have sufficient time for the competitive bidding process.

These forms can be submitted at any time during the funding year for which funding is requested. However, to receive the full 12 months of funding in FY2016, the forms must be posted before June 2, 2016 (to allow 28 days for competitive bidding before the start of the funding year). We highly encourage healthcare providers to submit application forms as early as possible!

Applying for the First Time?
Start by reading about the difference between the Telecom and HCF programs in the RHC Program Brochure under "program comparison." 

For Telecom Program funding, learn about rules and compliance, and familiarize yourself with the program in the Telecom Program Process Overview. We especially recommend reviewing the pages about eligibility, competitive bidding, and evergreen contracts.

For HCF Program funding, learn about rules and compliance, and familiarize yourself with the program in the HCF Program Process Overview. We especially recommend reviewing the pages about eligibility, competitive bidding, and competitive bidding exemptions.

One-on-one appointments are available for first-time applicants! Contact us to request an appointment and get started with the program.

Reminder! Updates to the Rural Areas List
Some healthcare providers that were previously eligible to participate may no longer be eligible for RHC Program funding in FY2016.

The FCC updated the Rural Areas List (Order DA 14-1042, July 2014) to reflect the latest decennial census and most recent nationwide Core Based Statistical Area (CBSA) designations. The order did not change the RHC Program's definition of a "rural area;" however, some program participants that were previously considered rural are now non-rural as a result of the update.

To find out if an HCP's rurality changed, visit the Rurality Change web page. HCPs that are newly non-rural will find information about the change in My Portal.

For the Telecom Program:

  • A warning message will appear in the "My Forms" and "My Contracts" tabs informing the applicant that the HCP is non-rural.
  • Applicants will be prevented from submitting new FCC Forms 466 for FY2016.

For the HCF Program:

  • A pop-up warning message will appear when the applicant selects the "Form 460 Revision" button informing the HCP that it is non-rural and the form may be denied.
  • HCPs that are considered non-rural will be prevented from submitting new FCC Forms 461 and FCC Forms 462 for FY2016, based on the eligibility end date.

1/14/2016Webinar Invitation: Get Started with the RHC Program


The Rural Health Care (RHC) Program began accepting applications for Funding Year 2016 on January 1, 2016.

If you're new to the RHC Program, thinking about applying for the first time, or need a refresher about the application process and program rules, join us for a webinar to learn the basics about how to participate! 

RHC 101: Intro to the RHC Program
January 28, 2016
2:00 PM ET
Register Now!

If you work with health care providers, you have a unique perspective on their needs and may be working with sites that are eligible, but not currently receiving funding from the Rural Health Care Program. Join us to learn about the program, so you can tell the health care providers you work with how they can reduce their costs of connectivity with RHC Program funding!

This presentation is very similar to the one we presented on November 18. Can't make it to the live presentation? Watch the recording.

1/12/2016Carriers Should Use FCC Form 555 Dated November 2014 to File Their 2015 Recertification Data


The FCC has notified USAC that there will be no changes to the FCC Form 555 for 2015 and that carriers can file their 2015 recertification data to USAC using the FCC Form 555 dated November 2014. Normally, the FCC Form 555 is due on January 31 annually. However, since that falls on a Sunday this year, the form is now due to USAC no later than Monday, February 1, 2016. USAC highly recommends that carriers file online using E-File. An online user guide is available to walk you through the process. For more information, please visit our Recertify Subscribers page.

1/7/2016Special Edition News Brief - Top Five Questions for the Client Service Bureau


The 01/06/2016 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.

1/7/2016January 2016 HC Reporter Issued


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

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.