USAC's Latest News Archive gives you access to all announcements related to the universal service programs as they were made throughout the years.
On August 10, 2016, the FCC released a Public Notice announcing a preliminary list and map of census blocks that have been deemed initially eligible for the Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase II auction. The list and the map are on the FCC website. Notifications of additional coverage data are due by August 31, 2016.
FCC Issues Compliance Guide for RoR USF Obligations, Reporting
On August 11, 2016, the FCC issued a Small Entity Compliance Guide describing the service and reporting obligations for rate-of-return (RoR) carriers that voluntarily elect, on a state-level basis, to receive CAF A-CAM model-based support or that choose to remain on legacy mechanisms. The guide details various performance, deployment, and reporting obligations for all RoR carriers receiving High Cost Program support, including speed, latency, data usage, buildout, reporting, certification, recordkeeping, interconnection, and pricing.
FCC Releases Minor Corrections to A-CAM
On August 15, 2016, the FCC released a Public Notice with minor changes to the reports showing the model-based Connect America Fund support amounts offered to rate-of-return carriers originally released on August 3, 2016. Specifically, the report now includes a revised support amount for Fremont Telecom and corrections to the short names previously assigned to seven study areas. No other changes were made and all other companies’ support amounts remain the same.
Beginning August 16, 2016, USAC will host weekly webinars for service providers each Tuesday from noon to 1:00 PM ET.
These webinars replace the weekly Tuesday conference calls (currently held from noon to 1:00 PM ET) and the monthly webinars (currently held on the first Wednesday of the month from 3:00 to 4:00 PM ET).
All service providers are invited to attend the weekly Tuesday webinars, which will cover E-rate Program updates and information relevant to service providers. Registration each week is complimentary, and required. We look forward to having you join us!
How to Register for a Webinar
Visit the Service Provider Webinar page on our website, or use the link in your reminder/agenda email to register. You must register separately for each week’s webinar. Doing so will allow you to submit questions and receive the agenda in advance. If you don't have a question to submit in advance, you can simply register at the time that you log in and view the agenda at that time.
After you register, you will receive a confirmation email with information about joining the webinar, including a personalized URL. Please do not forward your confirmation email to others; the URL it contains is unique to you. To share the event with others, forward the entire reminder/agenda email from USAC or direct them to the Monthly Webinars web page.
Tips for Joining Your First Webinar
USAC recommends logging in a few minutes early for the first webinar to allow extra time to connect to the webinar service.
When you join for the first time, you'll be prompted to download and run a file called "CitrixLauncher.exe." After you download this file, it will be faster to join future webinars. For more details, visit instructions to download the launcher file on the GoToWebinar support website.
To join the webinar on your mobile device, download the free GoToMeeting App (available for iPhone, Android, and Windows) in advance for quick access.
Mark your calendars! Registration will be opening soon for the E-rate Program Applicant Trainings. These full-day trainings are intended for schools, libraries, and consortia that apply to the Schools and Libraries (E-rate) Program.
More details and registration will be available soon in the Training & Outreach section of our website. To be notified when registration is available, make sure you're subscribed to the SL News Brief.
2016 training locations and dates:
Through the Rural Health Care (RHC) Program, $400M per year is available to health care providers for reduced rates on telecommunications services and broadband access! By participating, health care providers can save an average of 65% on eligible services.
Join us for a beginner-level webinar on August 16, RHC 101: Intro to the Rural Health Care Program, where you’ll learn about the funding available through the Healthcare Connect Fund and Telecom Programs, the differences between the programs, how to apply, and tips for successful participation.
Starting today, all subscriber to the "E-rate Program Service Providers" list, will receive news updates and guidance for service providers from USAC in addition to the webinar reminders.
We hope you find the emails about the E-rate Program to be informative and helpful with your program participation!
The 08/08/2016 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.
Join us to hear updates about the Lifeline Program, including the Lifeline Modernization Order and the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD). During the webinars, you can ask questions and participate in a collaborative dialog with USAC and stakeholders throughout the industry.
Lifeline Program Update Webinar, Wednesday, August 10, 3:00 PM ET
During the webinar, the Lifeline Program staff will discuss:
To foster a collaborative discussion with our audience, we will accept pre-submitted and live questions during the event. We look forward to hearing your questions and comments!
Q&A and Event Resources
If we don't have time to answer your question during the live event, or need to conduct research to provide an answer, we'll post a list of questions and answers next to the recording.
Visit the Lifeline Program Update Webinars page to find the webinar recording, slide deck, and list of questions and answers for each event.
Please stay up to date with your regulatory filings. USAC reminds rate-of-return carriers that it will withhold funding from carriers that do not submit data needed to calculate High Cost Program support.
In the Rate of Return Reform Order released on March 30, 2016, the FCC created a model-based funding mechanism for rate-of-return carriers and is asking carriers to choose between the new cost model and a modified version of the existing support system.
Carriers that elect the new Alternative Connect America Model (A-CAM) will receive a set amount of monthly support over 10 years and will need to meet defined build-out obligations. Carriers that choose to stick with the modified legacy funding mechanism, Connect America Fund Broadband Loop Support (CAF-BLS), will receive funding - and be required to meet deployment obligations – that are calculated using data submitted by carriers.
Specifically, the FCC and USAC will use FCC Form 477 data to conduct competitive overlap analysis and calculate deployment obligations; study area boundary data to calculate study area density and set operating expense limitations; and data to determine the capital investment allowance. Without this information, USAC will be unable to calculate carrier support, including support for carriers that elect the CAF-BLS path, and will withhold funding until this information is submitted.
Carriers should therefore be certain that all data filed with the FCC, including FCC Form 477 data and study area boundary data, are up-to-date and accurate. Any data revisions should be filed as soon as possible. These filings are in addition to the FCC Form 481 (54.313), the annual use certification (54.314) and deployment data (54.316) that carriers are required to submit in order to receive High Cost Program support (as specified in 54.903).
The first submission of the FCC Form 497 using the new snapshot date requirement will be for the August 2016 data month.
Filers should use the September 1 snapshot when submitting the FCC Form 497 for August. Any August FCC Form 497s submitted prior to September 1 will not be accepted by USAC for processing.
|When filing for the month of:||Use the snapshot of subscribers taken on:|
|August 2016||September 1, 2016|
|September 2016||October 1, 2016|
|October 2016||November 1, 2016|
|November 2016||December 1, 2016|
|December 2016||January 1, 2017|
The snapshot can be taken at any time on the first day of the month, and it must be taken on the 1st regardless of whether it falls on a weekend or holiday. The 1st of the month snapshot does not have to actually be pulled on the 1st; however, your systems and/or processes must be able to report data as of the 1st day of the month.
For more information regarding other changes, please visit the 2015 Lifeline Order page on our website.
During the NLAD migration process for Puerto Rico, USAC identified subscribers who were living at the same address and are identified as potential household duplicates.
Only one Lifeline Program benefit is allowed per household, so these subscribers must undergo the duplicate address resolution process.
Carriers must complete this process and de-enroll subscribers by December 2, 2016.
How to Pull the Duplicate Resolution De-Enroll Report from NLAD
Follow these instructions to access the report in the National Lifeline Accountability Database:
Subscribers identified as household duplicates will appear as "Duplicate Address" in the "Duplicate Type" field of this report.
How to Determine if a Household is Eligible
To determine if the household is eligible, carriers may use the Lifeline Household Worksheet, also known as the Independent Economic Household (IEH) Worksheet. In providing household worksheets to subscribers, the communication must comply with the requirements of paragraph 78 of the Lifeline Reform Order.
If the subscriber completes the IEH worksheet and is deemed eligible, they will need to be de-enrolled, then re-enrolled into NLAD with the IEH flag.
If the subscriber does not complete the IEH worksheet or their household is not eligible, they will need to be de-enrolled from NLAD.
For more information, please visit the Duplicate Address Resolution page.
De-Enroll Duplicates by December 2
Carriers will have until December 2, 2016, to resolve any duplicate address records found on their Detail Duplicate Subscriber Report. On December 2, 2016, USAC will de-enroll any remaining subscribers found on the Detail Duplicate Subscriber Report and carriers will not be allowed to claim support for these subscribers after this date.
The 07/21/2016 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.
In preparation for the new snapshot date reporting requirement that takes effect on September 1, 2016, a "Subscriber Snapshot Report" will be available in NLAD, which can be viewed at the summary and detail level.
The new report will be deployed in NLAD on Tuesday, June 28, 2016. Users will be able to download their first snapshot report for the June 2016 data month beginning Friday, July 1, 2016.
Reminder: ETCs are not required to use NLAD to capture their monthly snapshot data.
Information Available in the Report
The Subscriber Snapshot Report can be downloaded as a CSV file and will include:
The Subscriber Snapshot Report will be generated on the first day of each month at 6:00 AM ET, and will be available for download after 7:00 AM ET on the same day.
Snapshot reports for prior months will be available to users for a period up to 24 months; the June 2016 data month will officially kick off the snapshot reports retention period.
For more information on the snapshot date requirement, please visit the 2015 Lifeline Order page on our website.
The FCC released a Public Notice specifying Funding Year (FY) 2015 annual reporting requirements for Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) and Pilot Program consortia.
For FY2015, RHC Program consortia are required to submit additional information for annual reports using an Excel template available for download on the USAC website to supplement information collected on RHC Program application forms. HCF and Pilot Program consortia must submit to USAC the types of telehealth applications supported by the RHC Program. Pilot Program consortia must also report to USAC the number of competitive bids received and an explanation of how each winning bid was selected. Learn more about annual report requirements and download the Excel template you need to fill out and submit:
Why Annual Reports?
Consortia must submit annual reports to help USAC and the FCC understand the progress made each year in meeting the program’s performance goals to:
Increase broadband access for healthcare providers, particularly those serving rural areas,
Foster development and deployment of broadband healthcare networks, and
Maximize program cost-effectiveness.
Need Help? Contact Us!
For immediate assistance, contact the RHC Program Help Desk via email or call us at (800) 453-1546.
The 06/16/2016 Special Edition issue of the News Brief is now available. Receive E-rate Program tips, deadline reminders, and answers to your questions in this weekly newsletter. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.
The FCC issued a Public Notice (DA 16-629) directing USAC to fully fund all eligible FY2016 category 1 and category 2 service requests. The FCC stated that there is sufficient funding available to fully meet the E-rate Program’s estimated demand under the current FY2016 cap of $3.939 billion and the $1.9 billion in unused funds from previous funding years.
The Rural Health Care Program has an annual cap of $400 million in total support available for telecommunications and broadband funding for the Telecommunications and Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) programs. As part of the total funding cap, there is also a $150 million cap for upfront payments and multi-year commitments. Requests for funding for both the Telecommunications and HCF programs may be submitted beginning during the initial funding request filing period, March 1 – May 30 prior to the beginning of the funding year, and through the end of funding year. USAC will process all requests until funding is exhausted.
To view the most current funding information as of May 31, 2016, check out the funding information pages for the Telecommunications Program and HCF Program.
In order to keep you informed about progress towards reaching the funding caps for Funding Year (FY) 2013, FY2014, FY2015, and FY2016, RHC Program staff will continue to update these funding cap progress web pages. Estimated commitments are based on HCP funding requests, and are subject to change after USAC review of forms.
As announced in a Public Notice (DA 16-601), released on May 31, 2016, the FCC Form 481 has been OMB-approved. As such, the certify button and bulk certification options are now active and carriers can make their final certifications.
This filing is required for all ETCs participating in the High Cost and/or Lifeline programs with the exception of participants in Phase I Mobility Fund [section 54.313(k)]. FCC Form 481 is due Friday, July 1, 2016.
FCC Form 481 Templates and Resources
Eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) can log into E-File and access the FCC Form 481. USAC has also posted the FCC Form 481 Template (PDF version), filing instructions, and all necessary upload templates to our website.
While the names of these files on our website have been updated to reflect the approval of the form, the content has not changed as a result of the approval. These can all be found on the High Cost Forms and Lifeline Forms pages.
In addition, a recording of the webinar held about this year's FCC Form 481 submission may be accessed on the USAC website.
To claim RHC Program funding for Funding Year 2015 (July 1, 2015 - June 30, 2016), healthcare providers (HCPs) must complete their funding request forms by Thursday, June 30, 2016.
Submit the Form by June 30
To meet the deadline, you must submit a complete form by June 30. USAC highly recommends submitting the form as early as possible.
USAC’s FY2016 Demand Estimate for the E-rate Program is $3.609 billion. Under this estimate, $2.330 billion is for Category 1 services and $1.279 billion for Category 2 services. This estimate is based on total funds requested during the first FCC Form 471 filing window, $3.175 billion, and a projected amount of $434 million for the second filing window.
Funding Year 2016 runs from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.
On June 3, 2016, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 16-618) providing guidance to price cap carriers that accepted Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase I incremental support regarding upcoming validation of compliance for Phase I incremental support. In response to informal inquiries from CAF Phase I incremental support recipients, the FCC provided guidance about the types of documentation that recipients should be prepared to produce upon request. Examples of potentially relevant documentation would include, but not be limited to:
• Engineering studies,
• Construction schedules,
• Records of plant placed in service,
• Network maps,
• Advertising materials, and/or
• Customer subscription records.
Carriers should be prepared to produce their capital improvement plan from the time period immediately pre-dating the acceptance of CAF Phase I incremental support for either round. Carriers also should be prepared to produce documentation demonstrating the steps taken to determine an area was not already served according to the then-current National Broadband Map or slated to become served as a BIP or BTOP project, to the best of their knowledge. Carriers that accepted funding in the second round to deploy to locations shown on the then current National Broadband Map as already served by them with 3 Mbps/768 kbps should be prepared to produce documentation that those locations were served at the time of acceptance through a copper-fed digital subscriber line access multiplexer.
Join us to hear updates about the Lifeline Program, including the 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order and the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD). During the webinars, you can ask questions and participate in a collaborative dialog with USAC and carriers throughout the industry.
Register now for the Lifeline Program Update Webinar on June 8, 2016 @ 3:00 PM ET.
During the webinar, the Lifeline Program staff will discuss:
We look forward to hearing your questions and comments!
Q&A and Event Resources
If we don't have time to answer your question during the live event, or need to conduct research to provide an answer, we'll post a list of questions and answers next to the recording. Visit the Lifeline Program Update Webinars page to find the webinar recording, slide deck, and list of questions and answers for each event.
More information is available on the Lifeline Program Trainings & Outreach section of our website. Please submit questions and comments in advance to the Lifeline Program. For webinar assistance, email USAC Outreach.
On Thursday, May 26, 2016, the Duplicate Resolution De-Enroll Reports for carriers in Puerto Rico will be available in the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD). The report will include results from the duplicate subscriber selection process that ended May 18, 2016.
USAC will de-enroll subscriber records that were not selected on Thursday, May 26, 2016, the same day the report becomes available.
Carriers must de-enroll subscriber records listed on the Duplicate Resolution De-Enroll Report from their own internal company listings by Friday, June 3, 2016.
For additional information, visit the Duplicate Subscriber Resolution for Puerto Rico page on our website.
How to Pull the Duplicate Resolution De-Enroll Report From NLAD
Be sure to use Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer to view the report:
The FCC Form 471 application filing window for schools and school districts closes this week at 11:59 PM EDT on Thursday, May 26. If you need assistance, call the Client Service Bureau (CSB) as soon as possible. Be mindful of the times they are busiest (see below).
The Client Service Bureau (CSB) will be open the following hours during the last week of the window:
Remember that the following times are our busiest:
We encourage you to call with questions as soon as possible so that we can provide answers promptly.
Only two weeks remain for healthcare providers (HCPs) to start their RHC Program competitive bidding period in time to receive a full 12 months of funding for the upcoming funding year, FY2016 (July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2017).
To meet the deadline to be eligible for a full 12 months of funding, USAC must receive, process, and post your service request form by June 2. If you haven't submitted this form for FY2016, please do so as soon as possible! Note: HCPs can submit the service request forms at any time during the funding year, but if the form posts after June 2, support will be pro-rated.
*Healthcare providers with competitive bidding exemptions as individual HCPs or competitive bidding exemptions as consortia do not need to submit these forms.
Allow 5+ Days for USAC to Process and Post Your Form
Processing times vary, but, in general, it takes USAC 5+ business days to receive, process, and post a service request form by June 2 (complex applications, including consortium service requests and individual HCP service requests with RFPs, can take longer). Service request forms are processed in the order in which they are received.
Because of this, we encourage you to submit these forms as soon as possible. If you submit the form on May 30 or later, it most likely will not be processed and posted by June 2.**
**Note: Why June 2? FY2016 begins on July 1, 2016, and HCPs are required to complete a 28-day competitive bidding process to receive RHC Program funding. To complete the 28-day period by July 1 (the first day of the funding year), your form must be processed and posted by June 2.
This week, USAC is rolling out some changes to the web content around application filing. Our team has heard from many of you that critical information is hard to find and that certain tasks that make sense to legacy users, such as "Apply Online," are very confusing to new users. So we've recreated the "E-rate Productivity Center" page as the "Apply for E-rate" page.
Now, you can access:
Explore the new Apply for E-rate page now.
We've also made some changes to the FY2016 Filing Window page. Go here to learn filing date updates, access all EPC filing guidance, and explore our blog.
We hope these improvements help you, but we also welcome any additional feedback you may have on these pages.
On April 27, 2016, the FCC released the Lifeline Modernization Order. Join USAC on Wednesday, May 11, 2016, for a webinar to discuss the changes in the order.
Lifeline Modernization Order Overview Webinar
Wednesday, May 11, 2016, 10:00 AM ET
During the webinar, the Lifeline Program staff will discuss:
We look forward to hearing your questions and comments. Please submit them in advance of the webinar on the registration form, or via email.
Starting on May 11, the Lifeline Program will hold a monthly webinar to share updates about the program and connect with participants and stakeholders. If needed, we'll adjust the schedule to hold webinars more frequently.
To foster a collaborative discussion with our audience, we will accept verbal questions during the live event. The moderator will call on attendees who wish to ask a question one at a time during the open Q&A.
To ask a question, you will need a microphone or telephone. If you don't have a computer microphone, once you're in the webinar session use the "audio" section of the webinar control panel to switch to a telephone.
Can't Make It?
This webinar will be recorded and posted to the Lifeline Program's Online Learning Library within two business days of the event.
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
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.
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.