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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.

7/31/2015News Brief Issued


The 07/31/2015 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.

7/31/2015Upcoming Events in Washington, DC


The Rural Health Care Program is offering several training opportunities that are co-located with the American Telemedicine Association's 2015 ATA Fall Forum in Washington, DC.

Join us this September 16-18 for one of these events:

Learn more about these events and sign up in the Trainings & Outreach section of our website.

ATA Fall Forum conference registration is not required to attend the HCF Program training or the feedback groups, however, it is required to visit the exhibit booth and have a one-on-one appointment.

7/31/2015E-File Outage Due to System Maintenance: Friday July 31


USAC's E-File system, including RHC Program’s My Portal, will be unavailable Friday, July 31, 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.

7/30/2015NLAD System Issues Resolved


This morning, carriers reported an issue resulting in enrollment failures due to address failures with the Address Matching Service (AMS).

This issue is now resolved. The NLAD production and pre-production environments have resumed normal operations.

Thank you for your patience while we worked to resolve the issue.

7/29/2015Third Quarter 2015 LI Program News Issued


The third quarter 2015 issue of LI Program News is now available.

7/27/2015FCC Clarifies Scope of Evergreen Contract Exemption


The FCC released a Public Notice (DA 15-809) on July 10, 2015, clarifying the scope of the evergreen contract exemption for the Rural Health Care Program.

The Healthcare Connect Fund Order states that "if a health care provider (HCP) has a contract designated as evergreen under the Telecommunications Program or Internet Access Program before January 1, 2014, it may choose to seek support for the services provided under the evergreen contract from the Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program without undergoing additional competitive bidding, so long as the services are eligible for support under the HCF Program and the HCP complies with all other HCF Program rules and procedures.”

The FCC has clarified that if a contract is deemed as evergreen by USAC under the Telecommunications Program even after January 1, 2014, the contract will be deemed as evergreen for the HCF Program, and vice versa.

With questions about this clarification, contact us.  

7/22/2015E-File Outage Due to System Maintenance: Thursday, July 23


USAC's E-File system, including Rural Health Care’s My Portal, will be unavailable Thursday, July 23, 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.

7/21/2015Special Edition News Brief - USAC Undertakes Data Cleanup Effort


The 07/21/2015 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.

7/17/2015Paper Remittance Statements Discontinued on August 1


Paper statements will be discontinued beginning with your statement on August 1, 2015. Remittance statements will be emailed to the email address USAC has on file beginning August 1. Please take a moment to ensure that your company's contact information listed on FCC Form 498 is up-to-date so USAC sends your statements to the correct email address.

Step 1: Verify Your Contact Information
Between now and August 1, 2015, verify that your FCC Form 498 contact information is up-to-date by following these steps:

  1. Log in to E-File using your user ID and password. If you don't know your password, select "Forgot Password."
  2. On the left-hand menu, select "FCC Form 498."
  3. Navigate to the "Program Remittance" block for each program, and make the updates.
  4. Need help? Contact us via email or call us at (888) 641-8722.

Step 2: Make Sure You Can Receive E-Statements
Some recent advances in SPAM prevention may block USAC statements from getting to you because they contain a file attachment (.docx) and a hyperlink. To ensure the prompt delivery of USAC electronic remittance statements, please take the following steps.
Ask your IT administrators to:

  • Whitelist "usac.org" and "universalservice.org" on your email gateway, and
  • Allow the email address bcd.disbursements@usac.org to send you emails that contain the following words and items: 
    • Disbursements
    • Remittance
    • Payments
    • Hyperlinks
    • Attachments

Verify your own email set up:

  • Check your "Junk Mail" folder in your email client (i.e., Outlook, Gmail) for emails from bcd.disbursements@usac.org,
  • Check your SPAM quarantine for emails from USAC, and
  • Add bcd.disbursements@usac.org to your Address Book or "Safe Sender" list.

Additional Assistance
Contact USAC Customer Support at (888) 641-8722 Monday-Friday between the hours of 9:30 AM and 4:30 PM EDT, or email. You may also visit the Service Providers section of our website for additional information.

About the Discontinued Paper Statements
In November 2009, the FCC removed the option for service providers to elect paper remittance statements for their universal service disbursement payment information. Since then, new service providers and service providers who updated their contact information automatically received electronic statements. Beginning August 1, 2015, USAC will send electronic statements to all service providers.

7/17/2015Download FCC Form 470 Information Now Available for FY2016


The Download 470 Information for FCC Forms 470 filed in FY2016 is now available on the Search Tools page of the website. This report package will download to your computer as a compressed (.zip) file of four Excel documents (Consulting Information data, Consortia Information data, Organization Information data, and FCC Form 470 data). You will see that each file is in a pipe-delimited format. For more information about how to read these files and understand what data is being provided, read the Summary of Information Provided.   

7/16/2015NLAD Scheduled System Maintenance: Saturday, July 18


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

7/15/2015E-rate Systems Outage Due to Monthly Maintenance: Friday, July 17


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC), Apply Online page, including Submit a Question, online forms, and most search tools will be unavailable from 7:00 PM EDT on Friday, July 17 through 2:00 AM EDT on Saturday, July 18 for monthly system maintenance. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, and search for certain forms online. We apologize for any inconvenience.

7/13/2015498/499 Spotlight Newsletter 3Q2015 Issued


The 3Q2015 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.

7/10/2015E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Outage Due to System Maintenance: Sunday, July 12


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) will be unavailable from 7:00-11:59 PM EDT on Sunday, July 12 for system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to log in.

7/10/2015Training Site Outage Due to System Maintenance: Monday, July 13


The Schools and Libraries Training Site will be unavailable from 9:00 AM until 3:00 PM EDT on Monday, July 13 for system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to train or practice filing forms on the training site. We apologize for any inconvenience.

7/8/2015July 2015 HC Reporter Issued


The July 2015 HC Reporter is now available. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

7/7/2015Special Edition News Brief - EPC Update: Adding a Consultant to an Applicant's Account


The 07/06/2015 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.

7/6/20152015 FCC Form 499-Q Now Available: Due by August 3


Each quarter, telecommunications carriers and interconnected VoIP providers, that are not de minimis, and  that are required to contribute directly to the universal service fund must file the FCC Form 499-Q (Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet) with USAC.

The next FCC Form 499-Q is due to USAC Monday, August 3. The information on this form projects fourth quarter 2015 revenues and historical second quarter 2015 revenues. A late filing fee may be imposed for filing after the due date or failing to file.

Please note that the FCC now requires contributors with access to the internet to submit their FCC Form 499-Q using E-File. Users can retrieve historical forms, edit and submit changes, and certify online.
   

7/6/2015View Posted FCC Forms 470 for FY2016


Posting of an applicant's FCC Form 470 (Description of Services Requested and Certification Form) initiates the required competitive bidding process. FCC Forms 470 that have been submitted for Funding Year 2016 are now available on the View an FCC Form 470 (FY2016) page. On this page you will find the FCC Form 470 as well as any additional documentation submitted with the form, such as a request for proposal (RFP) or other supporting documentation.

If you log into the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC), you can view this same information with the added benefit of multiple filter and search capabilities. A tool that will allow this advanced functionally on the public website is currently under development as well. Stay tuned for additional information regarding that upgrade!

7/2/2015Special Edition News Brief - EPC Update: FY2016 FCC Form 470 Now Available


The 07/02/2015 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.

7/2/2015Setting Up Account Administrators for E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Accounts


USAC is creating your organization's E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) account. The person who signed and certified the FY2015 FCC Form 471 will be the account administrator. For consulting organizations, the head of your consulting organization will be the account administrator.


What You Need To Do:


If you are the Authorized Person listed on an FY2015 FCC Form 471
Follow the instructions in USAC's Account Creation email (sent to you from admin@portal.usac.org). After you log in to the account as the account administrator,* you can then designate another employee at your organization to be the account administrator if you wish to do so. If you did not receive the Account Creation email, call our Client Service Bureau at (888) 203-8100.

If you are the Contact Person listed on an FY2015 FCC Form 471
Ask the authorized person to set up your account. The authorized person must follow the instructions in USAC's Account Creation email (sent from admin@portal.usac.org). After the authorized person logs in to the account as the account administrator, he or she can then set you up as a user.

If you are the Consultant listed on an FY2015 FCC Form 471 
Your account administrator can grant you full, partial, or view-only rights to the information for your consulting information in the EPC. Contact your account administrator for more details.

*Consultants cannot be an account administrator for an applicant, even if they signed and certified the applicant's form. However, once a school or library account administrator has associated itself with your consulting organization, he or she can grant you rights to access the information in the school's or library's account.

Need Assistance?
If you have any questions, you can visit the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) page on the USAC website or call our Client Service Bureau at (888) 203-8100.

6/30/2015FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai Supports Broadband Deployment in Rural America


On June 29, 2015, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai announced his support of broadband deployment in rural America. Read more

6/26/2015Special Edition News Brief - EPC Update


The 06/26/2015 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.

6/26/2015Introducing the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC)


We are ready to introduce you to the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC), which is now live.    

EPC is the account and application management portal for the Schools and Libraries (E-rate) Program. This system will eventually be the point of entry for all applicant, service provider, or consultant transactions. EPC will be where program participants complete and certify forms, obtain the status of their applications, submit requests, receive timely reminders and notifications, respond to PIA review questions, and ask program-related questions.    

To get started, learn more about this new system on the EPC webpage. Here you'll find links to instructional videos, user guides, a glossary of terms, and more. As the system grows, we'll add more resources to this page to assist you along the way. 

Stay tuned for a series of News Briefs that will provide a full range of details regarding what you will need to do, when you need to do it, and how to do it. If you are not yet subscribed to receive the News Brief, the weekly digital newsletter for the E-rate Program, subscribe now!

  

6/25/2015Special Edition News Brief - New E-rate Program IT System Is Coming!


The 06/24/2015 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.

6/24/2015FCC Issues NPRM and Order to Reform and Modernize the Lifeline Program


On June 22, 2015, the FCC released an NPRM/Order (FCC 15-71) that makes certain current changes, and proposes and seeks comment on additional changes.  The FCC seeks to comprehensively restructure and modernize the Lifeline Program to efficiently and effectively connect low-income Americans to broadband, strengthen program oversight and administration, and take additional measures to eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse.

USAC is currently reviewing the order and will provide more information on any implementation impacts as it becomes available.  To receive the latest news about the reforms, please make sure you are subscribed to our Lifeline Program newsletters.

Comments on the NPRM and Order are due to the FCC 30-days after the date of publication in the Federal Register. Reply comments are due to the FCC 60-days after the date of publication in the Federal Register.
 

6/17/2015USAC Names Kate Hays As Vice President of Stakeholder Engagement


USAC is pleased to announce that Kate Hays will join the team as Vice President of Stakeholder Engagement effective June 17, 2015. Hays brings a track record of achievement in the non-profit and private sectors to execute USAC’s goal of providing high quality two-way engagement with stakeholders.

Hays joins USAC from Ogilvy Washington, where she served as COO and Senior Digital Strategist. In her three and a half years there, she led operations as the first COO of the Digital team, Social@Ogilvy, where she directed and managed a multi-million dollar annual budget. As senior digital strategist, Hays led work on major digital and social media accounts of corporate, governmental, and non-profit entities, including Merck and Ford Motor Company. Her specific achievements include providing key strategy on a social media and organizational change project that encompassed research, analysis, and reporting, including assessment of customer service protocols across traditional and digital platforms.

Prior to her role at Ogilvy, Hays held senior operational and client services positions. As SVP of Client Services at Small Act, a social media company, she managed multi-year consulting engagements for clients like AARP and National Geographic Entertainment, and launched operations for the company. At DonorsChoose.org, she led the organization’s presence in DC, MD, VA and Western PA. She has developed expertise at creating vision, strategy, and structure for organizations. Hays received a BA in Writing Seminars from Johns Hopkins University.

USAC CEO Chris Henderson stated, "Kate has spent her career as an innovator at the nexus of technology, communications, and customer engagement and we look forward to adding her perspective and proven leadership abilities to USAC as we seek to improve the experience and successful USF participation of all our stakeholders."

6/16/2015NLAD Outage on Sunday (Resolved)


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) experienced an outage on Sunday, June 14, due to system connectivity issues.

The connectivity issues are now resolved. We apologize for the inconvenience.

6/16/2015Second Quarter 2015 RHC Circuit Issued


The 2Q2015 RHC Circuit has been issued. To subscribe, please visit our subscription center.

6/16/2015FCC Announces Third Quarter 2015 Contribution Factor Decrease to 17.1 Percent


The Federal Communications Commission released a Public Notice (DA 15-695) announcing that the proposed universal service contribution factor for the third quarter (July-September) of 2015 will be 0.171 or 17.1 percent.

6/11/2015Monthly 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, 2015, 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 FY2013 and FY2014, RHC Program staff will continue to update these funding cap progress web pages. Estimated commitments are based on health care provider funding requests, and are subject to change after USAC's review of forms. 

6/9/2015Filing Reminder: Rate Floor Data Due July 1, 2015


All incumbent local exchange carriers receiving High Cost Program support are required to submit rate floor data by Wednesday, July 1, 2015.

Carriers with residential local service rates where the sum of rates and fees is below the rate floor benchmark ($21.22) must report these rates and the number of lines at each rate in effect as of June 1, 2015.

How to Submit the Report
Carriers should submit the Rate Floor Data Collection Report and Certification Form via email to USAC.

Carriers must file separate submissions with the FCC, state commissions, and the relevant authority (if applicable) of its U.S. territory, Tribal governments, etc., by July 1, 2015.

2015 Rate Floor Benchmark
On April 16, 2015, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 15-470) announcing that the rate floor reporting benchmark for 2015 is $21.22.

Tips for Successful Filing
Please consider these tips for a successful Rate Floor Data Report filing:

  1. Double check data for accuracy. Filings submitted after the due date will not be accepted as revisions if the revised data does not reduce a carrier’s support.
  2. Complete the Rate Floor Report (Tab 1) in Excel for easy data entry.
  3. Send the Rate Floor Report as both Excel and PDF formats via email. Large files may be zipped.
  4. Use the subject line "Rate Floor" in your submission email.
  5. Indicate whether rate floor data should be treated as confidential with each filing submission.
  6. Do not fax the Data Collection Form.
  7. Do not handwrite data on the Data Collection Form.
  8. List rates which apply to the Lifeline Program on a separate row, as these lines are excluded from rate floor reduction amounts.
  9. All rates that fall below the Wireline Competition Bureau's annually-established rate floor reporting benchmark must be reported to USAC on the Rate Floor Data Collection Form. The rate floor reporting benchmark for 2015 is $21.22. Reduction amounts are determined on a separate benchmark reduction schedule; the rate floor reduction benchmark for 2015 is $16.00.

6/5/2015Important Deadline! FY2014 Funding Request Forms Due June 30


The deadline to submit a funding request for Funding Year 2014 of the Rural Health Care (RHC) Program is Tuesday, June 30, 2015, by 11:59 PM EDT

Health care providers are required to submit these forms and all supporting documentation by June 30, 2015 to receive funding for FY2014 (July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015). Health care providers that do not submit a funding request form are not eligible for funding for FY2014. 

Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program
Use FCC Form 462 (Funding Request Form) to request HCF Program funding. The health care provider must submit one form per service provider and all supporting documentation by the deadline.

Learn more on the Submit Funding Requests - Individual HCPs and Submit Funding Requests - Consortia web pages. The form, instructions, and best practices are available on the HCF Program Forms page. 

Telecommunications Program
Use FCC Form 466 (Funding Request and Certification Form) to request Telecom Program funding. The health care provider must submit one form per circuit, and all supporting documentation by the deadline.

Learn more on the Submit Funding Requests web page. The form and instructions are available on the Telecom Program Forms page. 

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

6/3/2015June 2015 HC Reporter Issued


The June 2015 HC Reporter is now available. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

6/3/2015Materials from the Service Provider Trainings


Resources from the E-rate Program Service Provider trainings, including the agenda, presentations, and more, are available in the Event Archive section of our website. Also take a look at the E-rate Modernization Order section of our website for additional relevant resources.

6/2/2015FCC Conducts Fiber Build Workshop


On May 20, the FCC conducted an E-rate Fiber Build Workshop that provided E-rate Program applicants, providers, and state and local policy makers with information and tools for planning fiber build projects under the new E-rate Program rules, with a focus on issues applicants need to consider in order to choose the most cost-effective plans for deploying fiber.

An agenda, speaker biographies, and a recording of the workshop are available on the E-rate Fiber Build Workshop event page on the FCC website.

6/1/2015My Portal Software Updates


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 program compliance. The features are also intended to make form submission faster and easier for applicants. Many enhancements are based on feedback.

To view recent software updates, check out the HCF Program Applicant Updates, Telecom Program Applicant Updates, and Service Provider Updates pages.

 

5/26/2015FCC Form 481 FAQs Updated for Program Year 2016


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.

Before you file, be sure to review the FCC Form 481 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), recently updated on our website. These FAQs cover questions from every section of the form and hit some of the most common questions we get asked around July 1 deadline.

Other helpful filing resources include the FCC Form 481 Instructions (revised February 2015). For any questions about FCC Form 481, contact HCLI Questions.

5/22/2015FCC Issues Public Notice on Draft ESL for FY2016


On May 21, 2015, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 15-615) establishing the comment period for the Funding Year (FY) 2016 Eligible Services List (ESL).

Comments on the draft ESL, which is attached to the Public Notice, are due to the FCC on or before June 22, 2015. Reply comments are due to the FCC on or before July 6, 2015. For information on filing comments with the FCC, please refer to the Public Notice. 

 

5/19/2015Carriers in Group 3 - De-enroll Production Duplicate Subscribers by May 28


Beginning Thursday, May 21, 2015, the updated Duplicate Resolution De-Enroll Report for production duplicate subscribers will be available for carriers in Alabama, Alaska, American Samoa, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. The updated list will include the results of the consumer selection process (Round #2 of the production duplicate resolution process). 

On Thursday, May 21, 2015 USAC will de-enroll the subscriber records that were not chosen in the consumer selection process in Arizona and Michigan. The carriers that were not selected must de-enroll the subscribers listed on the report from their own internal company listings within five business days, by Thursday, May 28, 2015.  

More information about Production Duplicate Subscriber Resolution is available on our website. 

How to Pull the Duplicate Resolution De-Enroll Report
Follow these instructions to locate and pull the Duplicate Resolution De-Enroll Report from NLAD.

  1. Only use Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer (supported Internet browsers)
  2. Log in to NLAD
  3. In the left navigation pane, under the "Report and Tools" section, select "Reports"
  4. Select "Duplicate Resolution De-Enroll Report"
  5. Select the study area code (SAC)
  6. Select "Production – Duplicate Subscriber"
  7. Select your preferred report format (display or CSV)
  8. Click "Submit"

5/15/2015This Week’s Updates to NLAD Web Pages


For the week of May 11:

  • There were no updates this week.

NLAD-related updates from prior weeks: 

  • The Production Duplicate Subscriber Resolution page was updated to include new information and important dates. Refer to the March 5 issue of the NLAD Bulletin for more information about this update.  
  • The Maintenance Schedule page has been updated to revised maintenance days and times for March 2015. Refer to the March 5 issue of the NLAD Bulletin for more information about these updates.   
  • The Field Descriptions and File Validation Rules documents were updated on the NLAD Resources page.   

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: May 15

 

5/13/2015Refer to the Filing Reminder Guide for Program Year 2016 FCC Form 481 Filings


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.

For ETCs with rates below the benchmark, report rates and lines on Rate Floor Data Collection Report and Certification (see 47 C.F.R. Sections 54.313(h) and 54.318). For 2015, ETCs do not have to file pursuant to Section 54.313(a)(11) (Reporting results of network performance tests), Section 54.313(a)(12) (broadband reasonable comparability rate certification), Section 54.313(e) (Recipients of Connect America Phase II). ETCs should complete sections of the FCC Form 481 electronically in E-File as outlined in the FCC Form 481 filing reminder guide.    

Before filing, review the FCC Form 481 Instructions (revised February 2015).

For questions about FCC Form 481, contact HCLI Questions. For more information about filing FCC Form 481, watch the Changes to FCC Form 481 for Program Year 2016 webinar recording available in the Online Learning Library. For help filing the FCC Form 481 online, check out the FCC Form 481 online filing user guide, available on the High Cost Program Forms page. For help with E-File, call USAC Customer Support at (888) 641-8722.

5/12/2015Carriers in Group 2 - De-enroll Production Duplicate Subscribers by May 19


Beginning Tuesday, May 12, 2015, the updated Duplicate Resolution De-Enroll Report for production duplicate subscribers will be available for carriers in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. The updated list will include the results of the consumer selection process (Round #2 of the production duplicate resolution process). 

On Tuesday, May 12, 2015 USAC will de-enroll the subscriber records that were not chosen in the consumer selection process in Arizona and Michigan. The carriers that were not selected must de-enroll the subscribers listed on the report from their own internal company listings within five business days, by Tuesday, May 19, 2015.  

More information about Production Duplicate Subscriber Resolution is available on our website. 

How to Pull the Duplicate Resolution De-Enroll Report
Follow these instructions to locate and pull the Duplicate Resolution De-Enroll Report from NLAD.

  1. Only use Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer (supported Internet browsers)
  2. Log in to NLAD
  3. In the left navigation pane, under the "Report and Tools" section, select "Reports"
  4. Select "Duplicate Resolution De-Enroll Report"
  5. Select the study area code (SAC)
  6. Select "Production – Duplicate Subscriber"
  7. Select your preferred report format (display or CSV)
  8. Click "Submit"

5/12/2015Invitation to E-rate Program Applicant Trainings


Join USAC at an all-day Applicant Training for schools, libraries, and consortia that apply to the Schools and Libraries (E-rate) Program. Each training is identical; please select only one.

Register early to secure your spot - these complimentary events are very popular and have limited space.

  • Washington, DC
    Friday, October 2, 2015
  • Albuquerque, NM
    Tuesday, October 13, 2015
  • New Orleans, LA
    Thursday, October 29, 2015
  • Philadelphia, PA
    Tuesday, November 10, 2015
  • Tampa, FL
    Thursday, October 8, 2015
  • Minneapolis, MN
    Tuesday, October 20, 2015
  • Los Angeles, CA
    Thursday, November 5, 2015
  • Portland, OR
    Monday, November 16, 2015

Additional Information
More information is available in the Trainings & Outreach section of the Schools and Libraries Program website. Registration for the training does not guarantee hotel accommodations. Individuals must contact the hotel separately for room reservations.

Please inform USAC of any special needs, including dietary restrictions, at least one week prior to the event. If you have questions or need assistance, contact USAC Training.
 

5/5/2015May 2015 HC Reporter Issued


The May 2015 HC Reporter is now available. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

5/1/2015Webinar Next Week: Changes to FCC Form 481 in Program Year 2016


FCC Form 481, the Annual Carrier Reporting Data Collection Form, is due to USAC and the FCC on July 1, 2015. Join USAC for a webinar to review filing requirements and changes to the form for 2015.

The initial date for this webinar was April 29. Due to technical difficulties preventing the completion of the webinar, the webinar has been re-scheduled to the following week. 

Webinar: Changes to FCC Form 481 in Program Year 2016
Thursday, May 7, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

Register Now!

The webinar will be presented by Elizabeth Pertsevoi and Brandon Ruffley, Senior Program Analysts of the High Cost Program.

Presentation Topics
The presenters will review the following topics about FCC Form 481:

  • New requirements for the FCC Form 481 for Program Year 2016,
  • System enhancements for the new filing period,
  • Changes to the following components of the FCC Form 481: Dynamic tables, Data Collection Form, 100, 710, 800, 1100, 2005, 3005, and the certification process.

Following the presentation, the presenters will accept questions from the audience in a live Q&A.

More Information
More information about FCC Form 481 is available in the Certification Requirements section of the High Cost Program website.

For questions about FCC Form 481, please contact HCLI Questions. For event-related assistance, email USAC Outreach, or request help via the "Questions" box during the webinar.

4/30/2015NLAD System Issues Resolved


This morning, the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) experienced a partial outage in both the pre-production and production environments, affecting carriers attempting to submit dispute resolution requests.

These system issues are now resolved. The NLAD pre-production and production environments have resumed normal operations.

Thank you for your patience while we worked to resolve the issue. 

4/24/2015FCC Form 690 Template and Instructions - Now Available


The FCC Form 690 Template and Instructions are now available on the Forms page of the High Cost Program section of the USAC website. FCC Form 690 is the Mobility Fund Phase 1 Annual Report Form. If you have any questions or concerns, contact the High Cost Program team.

4/24/2015Lifeline Program Annual Recertification Election Form Due May 1


Carriers are required to recertify the eligibility of each of their subscribers annually, and have the option to elect USAC to perform the recertification process on their behalf.  

This is a reminder to provide the completed recertification election template to USAC via email by Friday, May 1, 2015, if your company wishes to elect USAC to perform recertification of your subscribers on your behalf for 2015, or if your company had USAC perform recertification last year but wishes to do its own recertification for 2015. 

Default Election After May 1
ETCs that elected USAC to perform recertification in 2014 will default to again electing USAC for 2015 unless you notify USAC otherwise by May 1, 2015.  

ETCs that did not elect USAC last year, and do not make an election by May 1, will again be responsible for conducting their own recertification process.  

About the Recertification Election Option
As required by the FCC's Lifeline Reform Order, ETCs must recertify the eligibility of their subscribers annually. Effective in 2013, ETCs may elect USAC to conduct the annual recertification process on their behalf.  

If elected, USAC will recertify all of the electing ETC's SACs unless it affirmatively indicates which SACs USAC should not recertify. 

4/24/2015Arizona and Michigan - De-enroll Production Duplicate Subscribers by May 4


Beginning Monday, April 27, 2015, the updated Duplicate Resolution De-Enroll Report for production duplicate subscribers will be available for carriers in Arizona and Michigan. The updated list will include the results of the consumer selection process (Round #2 of the production duplicate resolution process). 

On Monday, April 27, 2015 USAC will de-enroll the subscriber records that were not chosen in the consumer selection process in Arizona and Michigan. The carriers that were not selected must de-enroll the subscribers listed on the report from their own internal company listings within five business days, by Monday, May 4, 2015.  

More information about Production Duplicate Subscriber Resolution is available on our website. 

How to Pull the Duplicate Resolution De-Enroll Report
Follow these instructions to locate and pull the Duplicate Resolution De-Enroll Report from NLAD.

  1. Only use Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer (supported Internet browsers)
  2. Log in to NLAD
  3. In the left navigation pane, under the "Report and Tools" section, select "Reports"
  4. Select "Duplicate Resolution De-Enroll Report"
  5. Select the study area code (SAC)
  6. Select "Production – Duplicate Subscriber"
  7. Select your preferred report format (display or CSV)
  8. Click "Submit"

4/21/2015Webinar This Week: Walkthrough of FCC Form 690


Join USAC this Thursday, April 23, for a webinar about FCC Form 690, the Mobility Phase I Annual Report Form. The form is due to USAC and the FCC on July 1, 2015.

Webinar: Walkthrough of FCC Form 690
Thursday, April 23, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT
Register Now


The webinar will be presented by Elizabeth Pertsevoi and Brandon Ruffley, Senior Program Analysts of the High Cost Program. More information about this event is available on the Trainings & Outreach page of the High Cost Program website.

Presentation Topics
The presenters will review the following topics about FCC Form 690:

  • Filing Requirements,
  • How to access E-File and file online, and
  • A walkthrough of form inputs and certifications.

Following the presentation, the presenters will accept questions from the audience in a live Q&A.


More Information
More information about this event and other High Cost Program events is available on the Trainings & Outreach page of our website. This webinar will be recorded and available shortly following the live presentation in the Online Learning Library.

More information about FCC Form 690 is available in the Mobility Fund section of the High Cost Program website.

For questions about FCC Form 690, please contact HCLI Questions. For event-related assistance, email USAC Outreach, or request help via the "Questions" box during the webinar.


4/20/2015FCC Form 690 Unavailable Due to System Maintenance: Tuesday, April 21


FCC Form 690 will be unavailable in E-File due to scheduled system maintenance on Tuesday, April 21, 2015, starting at 5:00 PM EDT. We anticipate this maintenance will last approximately two (2) hours.

During this time, users will be unable to access the FCC Form 690 online. Any user already in the E-File system at the time of maintenance will lose all un-saved data.

4/17/2015FCC Announces 2015 Local Service Rate Floor and Reasonable Comparability Benchmarks


The FCC issued a Public Notice on April 16, 2015, announcing the 2015 local service rate floor for incumbent ETCs and the reasonable comparability benchmarks for fixed voice and broadband services. Based on the survey results, the 2015 rate floor for voice services is $21.22, and the reasonable comparability benchmark for voice services is $47.48. Under the Commission’s rules, by July 1, 2015, all ETCs that are incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC) recipients of high-cost support 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 (as of June 1, 2015) is below $21.22. To the extent that an ILEC’s local rates (plus state regulated fees) in 2015 are less than $16, that carrier’s high-cost support will be reduced on a dollar-for-dollar basis. This is the same $16 phase-in limit for support reductions as was in effect in 2014. In addition, each ETC, including competitive ETCs providing fixed voice services, must certify in the FCC Form 481 that the pricing of its basic residential voice services is no more than $47.48.

4/17/2015Today’s Online FCC Form 471 Filing Tip


Each day, USAC will provide a tip on how to navigate through the online FCC Form 471 for FY2015. Check this Latest News post daily for a new tip and to access previous tips.

The tips will be labeled by the area of the form to which they apply: General Guidance, Basic Information, Discount Calculation, Funding Requests, Certifications & Signature, or Certifying Your Form.

Today’s Tip

  • General Guidance– Now that the filing window has closed, gather the program documentation you have produced or received so far and determine how you will store or archive it. You must retain required program documents for at least 10 years after the last day of service delivered.

Previous Tips:

General Guidance

  • You can tell where you are in the form by the large chevrons (arrows) at the top of each page. There is one chevron per section: Basic Information (formerly Block 1), Discount Calculation (formerly Block 4), Funding Requests (formerly Block 5), and Certifications & Signature (formerly Block 6). The chevron that is blue indicates the section you are currently working on. Posted 01/23
  • Wait at least 28 days after your FCC Form 470 was posted to the USAC website before you choose a service provider, sign a contract (if applicable), and push the “Submit” button to submit your FCC Form 471. Posted 01/30
  • It’s important to use a supported browser when filing your form. Internet Explorer versions 9 and 10 and the most recent versions of Firefox, Chrome, and Safari are the browsers currently supported for the online FCC Form 471. Posted 02/04 
  • Clear your browser’s cache/cookies/history before starting a form. To clear your cache/cookies/history, go to the “Tools” menu if you are using Internet Explorer or Chrome, the “History” menu for Firefox, or the “Develop” menu for Safari. You can search “clear cache” in your browser’s “Help” menu or on the Internet to get more specific instructions for the browser you are using. Posted 02/05 
  • If you want to save your work at any point in time, click the floppy disk icon in the upper right hand corner of any screen in the online form. The floppy disk icon is just to the left of the print icon and the "Log Out" button. Posted 02/06 
  • The discount calculated for a school district is used by all individual schools in that district. Individual schools that are part of a school district cannot use their own student counts to calculate an individual discount. Posted 02/12 
  • You must file your Category One services and your Category Two services on separate FCC Forms 471. However, all of your Category One services can go on one form — under different FRNs — as can all of your Category Two services (on a separate form). Posted 02/26 
  • Before you start your FCC Form 471, verify that the entity information for the billed entity and all entities receiving service is correct by reviewing their entries in the Search for BEN Information tool. Posted 03/02 
  • To submit a Receipt Acknowledgment Letter (RAL) correction, if the incorrect data don’t appear on the RAL, print and mark up a copy of the relevant part of the form. You may have to click one or more accordions – the plus signs (“+”) located on the left-hand side of the online form – to print the data you want to correct. Posted 03/16 
  • You will need to use the "Compatibility View" for versions of Internet Explorer higher than version 10. You can access this function from the "Tools" menu. Posted 03/18 
  • Consult the FY2015 Eligible Services List (ESL) for information about changes in eligibility of services and other service-related questions. Appendix B sets forth the services and components no longer eligible for support, and Appendix C is the ESL itself. Posted 03/25 
  • The online FCC Form 471 does not have a print preview function. To print a copy of your form after submission, first go to "Display" and expand all the accordions – i.e., click all the plus signs (“+”) – and print the result. Then expand all the "Item 21 FRN Line Item Number" information and print that separately. Posted 03/27 
  • Although the online FCC Form 471 can be filed using several different browsers, other online Schools and Library Program forms must be filed with Internet Explorer, version 6.0 or higher. Posted 04/01 
  • You cannot create or update an entity through the online FCC Form 471. You must compile the necessary information. Use the Entity Numbers page for guidance. Then contact the Client Service Bureau as described on that web page. Posted 04/03  
  •  Call the Client Service Bureau (CSB) at (888) 203-8100 if you need help during these last days of the FY2015 filing window. CSB will be open weekdays until 10:00 PM EDT, this coming Saturday and Sunday until 5:30 PM EDT, and on Thursday, April 16 until 11:59 PM EDT. 04/06 
  • Your FCC Form 471 must be submitted before 11:59 PM EDT tonight. If you have any last-minute questions, call the Client Service Bureau at (888) 203-8100. Posted 04/16 

Basic Information 

  • Keep your system-assigned application number and security code in a safe place. You will need them to continue a form that you haven’t yet submitted or to certify a submitted form that you haven’t yet certified. Posted 02/18 
  • You will need an FCC Registration Number to complete this section. If you don't already have one, you can request one on the CORES section of the FCC's website. Posted 03/10
  • You can update your Billed Entity Information, or get a Billed Entity Number if you don't already have one, by using Submit a Question or calling us at (888) 203-8100. Review the Entity Number guidance on the website to make sure you have all the required information at hand. Posted 03/11
  • Consultant Registration Numbers (CRNs) can be issued by the Client Service Bureau. If you are a consultant and need a CRN – or if you are an applicant and need the CRN for your consultant – contact us at 1 (888) 203-8100. Posted 03/13 
  • You can give your FCC Form 471 a nickname (formerly called an “Applicant Form Identifier”) to distinguish it from other forms you have filed. Posted 03/20 
  • If you are not using a consultant, skip the entry fields on the online form that relate to consultants. For the purposes of the E-rate Program, a consultant is any non-employee of the entity applying for funding that assists in filling out the application materials for a fee. “Non-employee” includes contractors or others who are employed by the entity on a contract or short-term basis who do not receive a W-2 application from the entity filling out the application. Posted 03/27 
  • Make sure you choose the correct category of service before you start the Discount Calculation section. Category One includes Telecommunications Services, Voice Services, and Internet Access; Category Two includes Internal Connections, Managed Internal Broadband Services, and Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections. Posted 04/14 

Discount Calculation

  • To choose multiple attributes when entering an individual school or library, hold down the Control key (Ctrl), click on your selections, and then lift the Control key. Posted 01/26
  • If you are using a school template to enter a school with no students (e.g., a vocational school that is not the home school of any of the students that attend classes there), do not enter a zero in the template; rather, leave the student count blank and then enter a zero in the online form after you import (upload) the template. Posted 01/29
  • If you are using a template, save and close the file before attempting to upload it into the online FCC Form 471. Posted 02/09
  • Use the icons under the "Entity Information and Budget Calculation" worksheet to add (plus sign "+"), edit (pencil icon), or delete (trashcan icon) your entries. Posted 02/10 
  • If you choose “CEP” as an alternative discount mechanism for an individual school, you cannot enter a percentage of direct certification students less than 40 percent for that school. Posted 02/11 
  • A library outlet or branch that is part of a library system must complete the Discount Calculation section by listing all of the outlets/branches in that library system, even if that library pays its own bills and files the form itself as the Billed Entity. Posted 02/23 
  • An individual school that is part of a school district must complete the Discount Calculation section by listing all of the individual schools in that school district, even if that individual school pays its own bills and files the form itself as the Billed Entity. Posted 02/25 
  • Enter your non-instructional facilities (NIFs) under the school district or library system in the Discount Calculation section along with the other schools in the school district or libraries in the library system. The form will not calculate a discount if only NIFs are entered. Posted 03/03 
  •  If you use a template to upload your school or library discount information and you find you have made a mistake, you can always correct your mistake directly in the online form before you submit it. Posted 03/04
  • To enter the school district in which the main branch of the library system is located, use the Search for BEN Information tool to locate the school district’s entity number. Posted 03/05 
  • For each entity in the "Entity Information and Budget Information" section, the field labeled “Post-discount Entity Category 2 Budget” is the pre-discount Category Two budget for that entity multiplied by its E-rate discount percentage. It is for your reference, and reflects the maximum amount the E-rate program would commit toward the total eligible cost of the Category Two services. Posted 03/17 
  • You can ask your state's department of education for your "State LEA ID" and "State School ID." If your state does not issue you these numbers or you cannot locate them, you do not need to provide entries in these fields. Posted 03/30 
  • The “Student Count Based on Estimate?” field is set to “No” for Category One services and cannot be changed. However, for Category Two services, you will change this field to “Yes” if the student count you provide is an estimate. Posted 03/31 
  • The entry in the field “Number of Students Attending This School as Their Home School” must be an actual count, not an estimate. Posted 04/02 
  • To provide your count of full-time and part-time students, enter the number that identifies the maximum number of students that will use a service at one time. For example, if you have 20 full-time students at your school that attend classes all day, 35 part-time students that attend classes only in the morning, and 15 part-time students that attend classes only in the afternoon, you would enter “55” (that is, 20 full-time plus 35 part-time) in this field. Posted 04/07 
  • Please note that you cannot copy a “Block 4 worksheet” from an application from FY2014 or previous into a FY2015 application. You must enter your data directly into the application or use a template. Posted 04/09 

Funding Requests

  • After you enter information for services and costs, click the blue “Manage Recipients” button to identify the entities that will receive those services. If you don’t see the blue button, click the plus sign (+) located to the far left of the information you entered. Posted 01/19
  • After you identify the recipients for a Category One service, if you see a number in the orange button to the right of the blue “Manage Recipients” button, you must click the "Manage Recipients" button and indicate the number of lines assigned to each entity. Posted 01/20
  • After you identify the recipients for a Category Two service, the orange button to the right of the blue “Manage Recipients” button will also display a dollar amount. Click the blue “Manage Recipients” button to allocate the cost of the service among the entities receiving the service. Posted 01/21
  • When you have correctly allocated the number of lines or the costs in a funding request line item to the entities receiving service, the orange button labeled “xxx Remaining” will turn green. Posted 01/22
  • Do not click the “Upload Completed Template” button if you have not already prepared a file for import (upload). Templates are optional. Instead, simply click “Add Line Item” and enter your data directly into the online form. Posted 01/27
  • Use the narrative field for the FRN not just for a description of your service(s) but also to provide information you think is important for USAC to understand, such as the specific location of shared equipment or the rationale for a cost allocation. Posted 01/28
  • If you are filing for voice services, do not select “Telecommunications Services” in the “Key Information” area. You must choose “Voice Services” in order to enter a request for 800# service, local and long distance phone services, and other voice services. Posted 02/02
  • In a Category One service, if you indicate that your service includes last mile connections, you must supply the number of lines and allocate those lines appropriately to the recipients of service by clicking “Manage Entities.” Posted 02/03
  • If you choose "Telecommunications Services" as your service type, you cannot upload a template that includes one or more line items for voice services. You must create a separate FRN for voice services. Posted 02/13 
  • Don’t cite an FCC Form 470 on a funding request before the Allowable Contract Date (28 days after the date the form was posted to the USAC website) that appears on your Receipt Notification Letter for that form. Posted 02/16 
  • When you allocate costs to individual entities on an FRN line item, you can allocate equally by entity, proportionally by number of students (schools) or square footage (libraries), or you can enter your own allocation for each of the entities sharing the equipment or service. Note that the allocation should reasonably reflect each entity's share. Posted 02/24 
  • If you are purchasing a number of identical pieces of equipment (e.g., 100 model A widgets manufactured by Company B) but installing them in various schools or libraries, you can list the total number and cost of the identical pieces in a single line on your Item 21 and indicate where they will be installed and used by (1) allocating the cost as appropriate for each school or library and (2) providing any necessary details in the FRN narrative. Posted 02/27 
  • If you use a template to upload your Category One or Category Two product and service information and you find you have made a mistake, you can always correct your mistake directly in the online form before you submit it. Posted 03/06 
  • If you see an orange exclamation point ("!") to the right of the Item 21 button on a funding request, this means that your service, cost, and/or recipient allocation information is still incomplete. Click the Item 21 button to access the entry screen and look for the red text that indicates where information is missing. Posted 03/12 
  • If you select "Telecommunications Services" as your service type for a funding request, you cannot enter eligible "Voice Services" in that funding request even if they are from the same service provider. You must create a separate funding request and choose "Voice Services" for the service type. Posted 03/23 
  • Refer to the "Instructions for Completing the Funding Requests Templates" if you are having trouble deciding which choices to select from the dropdown menus in the online form. The "Specific Instructions" sections for each service type contain a list of the possible dropdowns with some helpful information. Posted 03/24 
  • In the "Key Information" section, the field where you provide the total number of months for all contract extensions is limited to two digits. If your contract can be extended for a total greater than 99 months, enter “99” in that field and provide the correct total in the "Narrative" section. Posted 04/08 
  • The entry for the total eligible cost for an individual line item in a funding request is limited to $2,000,000.00. If your cost for a single line is greater than this amount, please split your request into additional lines. Posted 04/10 
  • Remember that applicants no longer submit funding request information on a separate Item 21 attachment. The funding request information on services and costs must be entered directly into the online FCC Form 471. Posted 04/13 
  • Choose “Voice Services” as the service type if you want to enter voice services on a funding request. The online form will not allow you to enter voice services under the "Telecommunications Services" service type. Posted 04/15 

Certifications & Signature

  • In the “Necessary Resources” certification, be sure to enter the total amount in your budget allocated for resources not eligible for E-rate discounts but that are necessary for you to support and improve education and/or library services, and to make effective use of the eligible services you are requesting (e.g., hardware, professional development, software, maintenance, retrofitting). Posted 02/17
  • Read all of the certifications carefully. You or your successor may be required to demonstrate compliance with them at some point in the future. Posted 03/19 

Certifying Your Form

  • After you file your first paper certification for an FCC Form 470, 471, or 486, USAC will issue you a Personal Identification Number (PIN) by secure mailer that you can use to certify subsequent program forms online. Posted 02/19
  • If you do not have a Personal Identification Number (PIN) when you are ready to certify your FCC form, you must click the “Certify” button on the FCC Form 471 Apply Online page; enter your application number and security code and click “Log In”; print, sign, and date the certification page that appears; then mail it to USAC at the address provided. Posted 02/20 

4/16/20152015 FCC Form 499-Q is Now Available and Due by May 1


Each quarter, telecommunications carriers and interconnected VoIP providers that are not de minimis and are required to contribute directly to the universal service fund must file the FCC Form 499-Q (Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet) with USAC.

The FCC Form 499-Q is due to USAC Friday, May 1. The information on this form projects third quarter 2015 revenues and historical first quarter 2015 revenues. A late filing fee may be imposed for filing after the due date or failing to file.

Please note that the FCC now requires contributors with access to the internet to submit their FCC Form 499-Q using E-File. Users can retrieve historical forms, edit and submit changes, and certify online.
   

4/16/2015FY2015 Filing Window Closing Today


The application filing window closes today, April 16, 2015, at 11:59:59 PM EDT.

To support last minute filers, the Client Service Bureau (CSB) has extended its service hours one half hour past the application filing window deadline to assist applicants with last-minute filing issues. Please feel free to contact us at (888) 203-8100 with any questions during this timeframe.

For more information, review the News Brief from April 10.

  

4/15/2015Release of NLAD v2.4.4 on Wednesday, April 15


NLAD v.2.4.4 will be deployed on Wednesday, April 15, 2015 at 9:00 PM EDT. The NLAD pre-production and production environments will not be affected and there will be no interruption of service during this time.

This release includes:

  • Update to "Benefit Transfer" function due to reported errors.

A summary of bug fixes and known issues for this release is available in the NLAD v2.4.4 Release Notes as well as the API specifications in NLAD.

4/13/2015USAC Names Michael Moeller As Vice President of Strategy and Performance Management


The USAC is pleased to announce that Lt. General (ret.) Michael Moeller will join the organization as Vice President of Strategy and Performance Management effective April 13, 2015. Moeller brings a distinguished record of public service and executive leadership to the task of building effective strategy, risk and performance management capabilities at USAC.


Moeller most recently served as Deputy Chief of Staff for the United States Air Force with responsibility for Strategic Plans and Programs. In his two years there, he led the development and integration of Air Force long-range plans and the $604 billion Future Years Defense Program, ensuring the Air Force's ability to build and employ effective air, space, and cyber forces to achieve national defense objectives. His specific achievements include implementing a new process that resulted in the first-ever approved Air Force Strategic Master Plan, which enabled cross-portfolio trades and linked priorities to resource allocation.
Prior to his experience as Deputy Chief of Staff, Moeller held other senior positions, including as the US Security Coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority (2010-2012) in the Department of State and Director of Strategy, Plans and Policy for US Central Command (2009-2010). Moeller received a BS in Geography from the United States Air Force Academy, a MA in Airpower Art and Sciences from the School of Advanced Airpower Studies, and a MS in Aeronautical Science and Technology from Embry-Riddle University.


USAC CEO Chris Henderson stated, “We are both fortunate and honored to have someone as accomplished as General Moeller joining USAC to drive sustainable excellence in our planning, risk and performance management efforts. I believe we and our stakeholders will see very tangible results from his leadership in the near term.”

4/10/2015FCC Provides Guidance on 2015 Recertification Election Process


On March 31, 2015, the FCC released Public Notice DA-15-397 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 May 1, 2015.

ETCs that make this May 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 June 1. USAC must receive the completed subscriber listing template by July 1, 2015.

Any ETC that elected USAC to conduct their 2014 recertification will be presumed to elect USAC for the 2015 recertification as well, unless that ETC rescinds its 2014 election by May 1, 2015. Any ETC that fails to elect USAC by the May 1 deadline will be responsible for their subscriber recertification.

New Requirements for 2015

  1. USAC will recertify all SACs of the electing ETC unless the ETC affirmatively indicates to USAC which SACs USAC should not certify.
  2. ETCs choosing USAC for recertification may limit the SACs for which USAC performs recertification.
  3. If USAC initiates an ETC’s recertification process after August 15, USAC will provide ETCs with an opportunity to update consumer addresses 45 days prior to USAC’s recertification attempts.
  4. After providing ETCs with a list of subscribers who failed to recertify, USAC will provide notice to those subscribers via automated text or call informing them their ETC is in the process of de-enrolling them form their Lifeline benefit due to failure to recertify. USAC will also provide notice of the steps that the consumer can take to re-enroll if they remain eligible.

More Information
For more information regarding annual recertification requirements please visit USAC’s Recertification Election Option page. Please direct all correspondence concerning the annual recertification process to USAC via email.
 

4/10/2015498/499 Spotlight Newsletter 2Q2015 Issued


The 2Q2015 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.

4/9/2015HCF Program: My Portal Software Updates


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 RHC Program compliance. Many enhancements are based on feedback from applicants.


The following updates are only applicable to the Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program.

New Site and Service Substitution Functionality
Site and service substitutions allow applicants to reallocate un-invoiced funds within commitments, subject to the terms of their contract and the Request for Proposal (RFP) associated with the commitment. Substitutions allow the flexibility to ensure that all of the committed funds on an approved FCC Form 462 can be spent, even though USAC-supported services may change over the course of a commitment.


Applicants can now perform site and service substitutions within My Portal by clicking the “Substitution” button on the “Form 462” tab. Through My Portal, applicants can modify the expense items on approved FCC Forms 462, including the eligible expense information on existing line items for service upgrades or changes and the financial information. Substitution modifications cannot change the overall funding disposition (i.e. exceed approved funding amount or de-commit money that has already been disbursed).


New HCF Program Funding Commitments Search Tool
A funding commitments search tool has been added to the HCF Program Search Tools web page that provides the estimated support amount for all HCF Program commitments. Funding commitments can be searched and sorted by funding year, applicant name, city, state, or ZIP code, Funding Commitment Letter (FCL) issue date, service provider name, or Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN).


New Consortium FCC Form 460 Bulk Load Enhancement
Consortium applicants can select multiple HCPs to upload to Line 2a and 2b of the consortium FCC Form 460 instead of selecting each HCP one at a time. Allowing batches of HCPs to be added at once reduces the amount of time necessary to select large numbers of HCPs.


In addition, consortium applicants can now add member HCPs to the consortium FCC Form 460 after a member HCP FCC Form 460 has been submitted but before it has been approved by USAC. This enhancement will allow for more accurate initial lists of member HCPs and will reduce the amount of revisions needed for the consortium FCC Form 460 to include all member HCPs.


New Email Notification Feature for Consortium FCC Form 460 Revisions
Consortium applicants will now receive an email notification when a revision to the consortium’s FCC Form 460 has been approved.


Existing HCPs Search Function Enhancement for New FCC Forms 460
When creating a new FCC Form 460, applicants can now search for existing HCPs using their HCP numbers in addition to searching by the ZIP code.


Consortium Search Function Enhancement
Consortium project coordinators can now search and sort member HCPs by HCP number and HCP name on the “My Consortium” tab.


FCC Form 462 Contract Enhancement
On the FCC Form 462, the contract ID for a contract added to the form will now display next to the contract on the “Competitive Bidding” and “Expense Items” tabs. 


Validation Correction on FCC Form 460, Line 49
Applicants are now able to enter “0” on Line 49 of the FCC Form 460 for the number of licensed patient beds that are at a non-profit hospital.


Search Posted Services Bug Fixed
A bug that was preventing service providers from downloading PDFs from the Search Posted Services tool has been fixed.


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

For immediate assistance with the HCF Program, submit questions via email or phone at (800) 453-1546.

3/24/2015USAC To Offer Extended Customer Support Hours for FCC Form 499-A Filers


Beginning Wednesday, March 25, 2015, USAC will offer extended customer support hours for contributors filing the 2015 FCC Form 499-A. USAC’s Customer Operations Center will remain open until 6:00 PM EDT. The extended hours will remain in effect through April 1, 2015.  
 
How to reach us for support filing your 2015 FCC Form 499-A:

Call us between 9:30 AM and 6:00 PM EDT at (888) 641-8722 (Option 2).

Email us at CustomerSupport@usac.org or Form499@usac.org.  
 

 

2/27/2015News Brief Issued


The 02/27/2015 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.