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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.

12/19/2014This Week’s Updates to NLAD Web Pages


For the week of December 15:

  • There were no updates this week.


NLAD-related website updates from prior weeks:


What is the purpose of this Latest News post?

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

 

Last Updated: December 19

12/19/2014The FCC Form 471 application filing window for Funding Year 2015 will open at noon EST on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 and will close at 11:59 PM EDT on Thursday, March 26, 2015. The filing window will be open for 72 days.


The FCC Form 471 application filing window for Funding Year 2015 will open at noon EST on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 and will close at 11:59 PM EDT on Thursday, March 26, 2015. The filing window will be open for 72 days.

Be sure to review the FY2015 Eligible Services List for details on products and services that are eligible for E-rate discounts in FY2015.

We will issue the customary Letter to the Field around the time that the FCC Form 471 application filing window opens to provide filing information and deadline reminders related to the window.

Meanwhile, keep the following in mind:
  • You can file an FCC Form 470 now if you are ready to do so; you don't need to wait for the window to open. To file an FCC Form 470 online, go to the Apply Online page and click on the "Create Form 470" button.
  • You must wait 28 days after the FCC Form 470 is POSTED to the USAC website before you can select a service provider, sign a contract (if applicable), and submit an FCC Form 471. If you issue an RFP after the FCC Form 470 is posted, you must wait 28 days from the release of the RFP to select a service provider.
  • Thursday, February 26, 2015 is the last day to post an FCC Form 470 to the USAC website or issue an RFP and still complete all of these actions before the window closes.

You can find additional program guidance documents in the Reference Area of the USAC website.

12/19/2014Rate Floor Data Collection Reports Due January 2, 2015


Pursuant to CFR section 54.313(h)(2), all incumbent local exchange carrier recipients of high-cost support must report all of their rates for residential local service for all portions of their service area, as well as state fees, to the extent the sum of those rates and fees are below the rate floor, and the number of lines for each rate specified. Carriers shall report lines and rates in effect as of June 1.

You must file an updated report on January 2, 2015 if:
  • Your local service rates were above $20.46 before June 1, 2014, but for some reason reduced your rates below $20.46 between June 1, 2014 and December 1, 2014.

You should file an updated report on January 2, 2015 if:
  • Your local service rates were below $16 as of June 1, 2014, and you raised rates to $16 or above after June 1, 2014 and before December 1, 2014.

You do not need file an updated report on January 2, 2015 if:
  • Your local service rates have remained constant between June 1, 2014 and December 1, 2014.
  • Your local service rates were above $20.46 on June 1, 2014, and your rates have decreased but still remain above $20.46 as of December 1, 2014.

12/19/2014NLAD Monthly System Maintenance on Saturday, December 20


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable due to monthly system maintenance on Saturday, December 20, 2014, from 2:00 AM to 6:00 AM EST.

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

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

12/18/2014News Brief Issued


The 12/18/2014 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.

12/17/2014Apply Online Outage Due to System Maintenance: Friday, December 19


The Apply Online page, including Submit a Question, online forms, and most search tools will be unavailable from 9:00-11:59 PM EST Friday, December 19, for system maintenance. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, and search for certain forms online. We apologize for any inconvenience.

12/17/2014CANCELED - NLAD Industry Webinar Scheduled for December 22


The NLAD Industry webinar scheduled for Monday, December 22nd has been canceled due to the upcoming holidays and scheduling conflicts. Please join us on January 7, 2015, for our next NLAD Industry webinar. More information can be found on the Lifeline Program's Training and Outreach page.

12/16/2014POSTPONED - NLAD Scheduled System Maintenance on Thursday, December 18


This outage has been postponed. The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable due to scheduled system maintenance and enhancements on Thursday, December 18, from 9:00 PM to 11:59 PM EST.

The NLAD pre-production and production environments will not be available during this time. A summary of the bug fixes and known issues for this release is available in the NLAD v2.3.11 Release Notes.

This release includes:

  • Updates to the Duplicate Resolution De-Enroll Report

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

12/16/2014FCC Announces First Quarter 2015 Contribution Factor Increase to 16.8 Percent


The Federal Communications Commission released a Public Notice (DA 14-1832) announcing that the proposed universal service contribution factor for the first quarter (January-March) of 2015 will be 0.168 or 16.8 percent.

12/12/2014This Week’s Updates to NLAD Web Pages


For the week of December 8:

  • There were no updates this week.

NLAD-related website updates from prior weeks:

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

Last Updated: December 12

12/12/2014Postponed--Production Duplicate Subscriber Resolution Process


The Production Duplicate Subscriber Resolution scheduled mailings for the state of Michigan will no longer be sent on December 16, 2014. The rescheduled mailing for the Michigan letters will occur in January 2015. USAC will send a bulletin when the new schedule is available.

For subscribers in Michigan who were identified as Production Duplicate Subscribers, USAC will work with carriers to de-enroll any subscribers that require de-enrollment during this time period. For assistance in performing de-enrollments related to those subscribers in Michigan, please email us with the subject line "Production Duplicate Subscriber De-enroll Request" and include a list with only the study area code (SAC) and the phone number of the subscribers that need to be de-enrolled. Upon receipt of the email, USAC will send a confirmation receipt of the de-enrollment request.

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

12/11/2014FCC Continues E-rate Program Reboot to Meet the Needs of 21st Century Digital Learning


Today the FCC adopted an Order aimed at closing the connectivity gap by making more funding available for libraries and schools to purchase broadband connectivity capable of delivering gigabit service over the next five years. The Order also provides schools and libraries additional flexibility and options for purchasing broadband services to enable schools and libraries to meet their Internet capacity needs in the most cost-effective way possible. For more information, please see the FCC Press Release.

12/9/2014Invitation to Webinar: FCC Form 463 Invoicing for Service Providers


FCC Form 463 is due for Funding Year (FY) 2013 single-year funding commitments with an end date of June 30, 2014, by December 31, 2014. Join us for a webinar to review FCC Form 463 requirements for service providers and tips for completing invoices on time.

Register here: FCC Form 463 Invoicing Webinar for Service Providers
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
2:00 to 3:00 PM EST

We encourage participants to submit questions in advance using the webinar registration form. If you think of a question after you register, please send it to RHC Program Outreach.

Webinar Topics
USAC will present best practices and answer your questions about the FCC Form 463. Service providers participating will learn about:

  • FCC Form 463 invoicing process
  • The roles of the HCP and service provider in the FCC Form 463 submission
  • FCC Form 463 best practices
  • Reviewing and certifying an FCC Form 463
  • Updating an FCC Form 498
  • Disbursement cycle
  • Where to find help

After the discussion of agenda items, staff will answer questions from the audience. We welcome suggestions for additional topics to RHC Program Outreach.

Need Help?
More information about HCF Program events is available on the Trainings & Outreach page of the RHC Program website.

If you have difficulty connecting to the webinar on December 17, contact USAC Outreach. For questions about the HCF Program, contact the HCF Program Help Desk via email or by phone at (800) 453-1546.

12/8/2014FCC Form 555 Pre-Production Environment & Webinar


The online FCC Form 555 (Annual Lifeline ETC Certification Form) is now available in a pre-production (for training) environment. Carriers are encouraged to log in and explore the online FCC Form 555 in preparation for the filing due January 31, 2015.


The pre-production environment is designed to familiarize carriers with the form, and serve as a training aid. It is not possible to file the form in the pre-production environment. Any information entered in the pre-production environment is for training and testing purposes only. All information will need to be re-entered in the production environment when it becomes available.

Training and Resources
Join us on Wednesday, December 10 at 3:00 PM EST for a webinar that will walk through the form in the pre-production environment, including entitlements, navigation, and a live Q&A.

Register Now: FCC Form 555 in the Pre-Production Environment Webinar
Wednesday, December 10, 2014, 3:00 to 3:30 PM EST

Benefits of Filing Online
USAC encourages carriers to use the E-File system to file FCC Form 555 online. Benefits of filing online include:

  1. Instant validation that all required fields are completed
  2. Built in guidance on how to report certification results
  3. Auto-populated fields eliminate common errors
  4. Easy to view and print a PDF of the filing
  5. Revisions can be made easily throughout the filing period

Additional Assistance
More information about FCC Form 555 is available on our website on the Forms page and under Telecom Carriers Step 8: Annual ETC Certification. For help with FCC Form 555, call (202) 423-2063 or email us.

12/5/2014This Week’s Updates to NLAD Web Pages


For the week of December 1:

  • The Maintenance Schedule page was updated with the NLAD v.2.3.10 Release Notes. Refer to the December 4 issue of the NLAD Bulletin for more information about these updates.

 

NLAD-related website updates from prior weeks:


What is the purpose of this Latest News post?

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

 

Last Updated: December 5

12/4/2014NLAD Release 2.3.10 Updates


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) version 2.3.10 was released on December 2, 2014.

The release included these updates:

The "Tribal Address" field will no longer default to "Yes" when the "Linkup Service Date" is entered.
NLAD will no longer return a "Duplicate Address" error on subscriber updates if the address fields were not updated.

A summary of the bug fixes and known issues for this release is available in the NLAD v2.3.10 Release Notes.

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

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

12/3/2014Resolved: Rural Health Care Help Desk Phone Line Down


The Rural Health Care Help Desk line (800) 453-1546 is currently down.  Calls placed to this number are being directed to a message from USAC’s Customer Operations. We apologize for the inconvenience and ask that until the issue is resolved, please send all inquiries via email to RHC Assist. This message will be updated when the phone issue has been resolved.

12/3/2014Monthly Updates on Progress Towards Annual Funding Cap


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

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

$400 million Cap for Total RHC Program Funding

FY2013

FY2014

Total Commitment Requests Received

$199,381,020

$88,106,625

Total Commitment Made

$168,167,049

$19,667,036


Commitment Requests Received (Telecom Program)

$147,545,751

$50,218,653


Commitments Made (Telecom Program)

$118,978,139

$4,624,668


Commitment Requests Received (HCF Program – Consortia)

$34,779,193

$27,287,348


Commitments Made (HCF Program – Consortia)

$32,941,565

$13,667,640


Commitment Requests Received (HCF Program – Individual HCPs)

$17,056,076

$10,600,624


Commitments Made (HCF Program – Individual HCPs)

$16,247,345

$1,374,828


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

FY2013

FY2014

Total Commitment Requests Received

$42,748,798

$31,418,468

Total Commitment Made

$40,222,050

$13,184,828


Total Commitment Requests Received (Consortia)

$33,204,975

$26,288,117


Total Commitment Made (Consortia)

$31,353,695

$13,087,457


Total Commitment Requests Received (Individual HCPs)

$9,543,823

$5,130,351


Total Commitment Made (Individual HCPs)

$8,868,356

$97,371


HCF Program Disbursements

FY2013

FY2014

Total Disbursements Made

$6,543,066

$273,711


Total Disbursements Made (Consortia)

$4,031,525

$256,464


Total Disbursements Made (Individual HCPs)

$2,511,542

$17,247


HCF Program Funding Requests

FY2013

FY2014

Total Funding Requests Made

2,839

867


Total Funding Requests Made (Consortia)

55

54


Total Funding Requests Made (Individual HCPs)

2,784

813


Note: All data for estimated commitments and disbursements made are through November 30, 2014.

12/3/2014NLAD Outage Due to System Maintenance: Friday, December 5


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable due to system maintenance starting on Friday, December 5 at 9:00 PM through Saturday, December 6 at 2:00 AM EST.

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

How to Identify Production Duplicate Subscribers--Starting with Michigan--December 6th
Starting on December 6, 2014, carriers in Michigan will be able to view records for production duplicate subscribers. To view these production duplicate subscriber records, log in to NLAD and select the "Detail Duplicate Subscriber Report" under the 'Reports and Tools" section. The records for subscribers identified as receiving multiple Lifeline Program-supported services in NLAD will appear as "Production--Duplicate Subscriber" in the "duplicate type" field of this report.

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

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

12/2/2014Fourth Quarter 2014 FCC Form 499-Q Revisions Accepted until December 18


FCC rules require all telecommunications carriers and interconnected VoIP providers that are required to contribute directly to universal service and that are not de minimis exempt companies to file a quarterly Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet (FCC Form 499-Q).

The fourth quarter 2014 FCC Form 499-Q was due Monday, November 3. The filing window for this reporting period closes on Thursday, December 18. Information on this form projects first quarter 2015 revenues and historical third quarter revenues. A late filing fee may be imposed for filing after the due date or failing to file.

USAC encourages universal service contributors to submit their FCC Form 499-Q using E-File. Users can retrieve historical forms, edit and submit changes, and certify online.

If you have questions about FCC Form 499-Q, contact us.

12/2/2014Join the E-rate Program for a Series of Webinars on FY2015 Topics


Join the Schools and Libraries (E-rate) Program throughout December and January for a series of webinars on Funding Year 2015 topics. Please register for each webinar individually:

Register here: FCC Form 470 Demo
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
3:00 PM EST

Register here: Eligible Services
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
3:00 PM EST

Register here: Program Compliance
Thursday, December 18, 2014
3:00 PM EST

Register here: Category Two Budgets
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
3:00 PM EST

Register here: Discount Calculations
Thursday, January 8, 2015
3:00 PM EST

Register here: Urban/Rural Tool
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
3:00 PM EST

Please note: Due to the large size of our virtual audience, the presenters will not accept live questions during the presentation. All webinars will be recorded and will available for viewing a day after the original webinar presentation, in the Schools and Libraries Program's Online Learning Library.

Need Help?
More information about the E-rate Modernization Order is available on the USAC website. If you have any questions about the webinar, please contact USAC Outreach.

For questions about the E-rate Program, contact us via Submit a Question or call the Client Service Bureau at (888) 203-8100.

12/2/2014Reminder: HCF Program Deadline for FCC Form 463 for FY2013


Per the FCC Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Order, Paragraph 305,* all FCC Forms 463 must be submitted to USAC within six months of the end date of the funding commitment. For funding year (FY) 2013 single year funding commitments ending June 30, 2014, the FCC Form 463 must be approved by both the applicant and service provider and submitted to USAC by December 31, 2014.

To ensure service provider payment by submitting an FCC Form 463 to USAC:

  • An applicant must have an approved FCC Form 462 funding commitment from USAC.
  • An applicant must submit its FCC Form 463 associated with the funding commitment.
  • The service provider will be notified and will approve or reject the form. If the service provider rejects the form, it is sent back to the health care provider (HCP) for corrections.
  • After the form has been approved by the service provider, USAC will review it.
  • Payments are made upon USAC review and approval.

Note: This deadline is for the HCF Program only and does not apply to the Telecommunications Program.

More Information for HCPs

More Information for Service Providers
  • FCC Form 463 Service Provider Guide

Additional Assistance
  • If you are experiencing any issues in submitting your FCC Form 463, please do not hesitate to contact the RHC Help Desk by email or by phone at (800) 453-1546.
  • We also recommend subscribing to the RHC Circuit quarterly newsletter and joining us for quarterly webinars for the most up-to-date information about the RHC Program and assistance with program rules.

*FCC Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Order (FCC 12-150), Paragraph 305: "This invoicing procedure is different from the Primary Program in two principal ways. In the Healthcare Connect Fund, as in the Pilot Program, (1) a HCP or Consortium Leader must certify to USAC that it has paid its contribution to the service provider before the invoice can be sent to USAC and the service provider can be paid, and (2) before any invoice is sent to USAC, both the HCP and service provider must certify that they have reviewed the document and that it is accurate. We believe the adoption of these requirements in the new program will help eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse by making sure that HCPs have made their required contribution to the cost of the services they receive and that the invoice accurately reflects the services an HCP is receiving and the support due to the service provider. It is permissible to certify that these steps have been taken via electronic signature of an officer, director, or other authorized employee of the Consortium Leader or HCP. All invoices must be received by the Administrator within six months of the end date of the funding commitment."

12/1/2014New Production Duplicate Subscriber Resolution Process


USAC has identified subscribers that must undergo a duplicate subscriber resolution process to address duplicate enrollments that were not resolved during the NLAD migration process. This NLAD Bulletin describes the process for addressing these duplicate subscribers, which will be referred to as the "Production Duplicate Subscriber Resolution Process." This resolution process will be similar to the duplicate subscriber resolution process (track 1) that was performed for subscribers who were determined to be receiving Lifeline benefits from multiple subscribers.

The “Production Duplicate Subscriber Resolution Process” will begin on December 5, 2014, starting with the state of Michigan. Additional information about this process will be available in the Duplicate Resolution section of the Lifeline Program website.

How to Identify Production Duplicate Subscribers
USAC will announce the date for each state when the report outlining the subscribers subject to the production duplicate subscriber resolution process will be available for viewing in NLAD. To view records for production duplicate subscribers, log in to NLAD and select the “Detail Duplicate Subscriber Report” under the “Reports and Tools” section. The records for subscribers identified as receiving multiple Lifeline Program-supported services in NLAD will appear as “Production – Duplicate Subscriber” in the “duplicate type” field of this report.

Letters to Subscribers
When USAC begins the production duplicate subscriber resolution process, USAC will send letters starting on December 16, 2014 for the state of Michigan. The production duplicate subscriber resolution letter will request that the subscriber select a single Lifeline Program provider within 35 days from the date of the letter. The letter will be identical to the letter used during the “track 1” duplicate subscriber resolution process; a copy of the letter is available on our website. During the 35-day period where the subscriber must select a single Lifeline Program benefit, NLAD will not allow de-enrollment or changes to the production duplicate subscribers’ information.

If the subscriber fails to make a selection in the 35-day period, the randomly-selected default carrier indicated on the letter will be designated as the Lifeline Program service provider for the subscriber. Carriers will be notified of the results from this process and may be directed to de-enroll specific subscribers.

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

11/21/2014This Week’s Updates to NLAD Web Pages


For the week of November 17:

·        The Migration Inter-Company Household Duplicate Resolution page was added.

·        The Duplicate Resolution page was updated to include information about Migration Inter-Company Duplicate Address Resolution. Refer to the November 6 issue of the NLAD Bulletin for more information about these updates.

 

NLAD-related website updates from prior weeks:

·        The Duplicate Resolution page was updated to include information about Duplicate Interstate Subscriber Resolution. Refer to the October 31 issue of the NLAD Bulletin for more information about these updates.

·        The Duplicate Address Resolution page was updated. Spanish versions of the subscriber letter and the household worksheet were added.

·        The Maintenance Schedule page was updated. Refer to the October 3 issue of the NLAD Bulletin for more information about these updates.

·        The Maintenance Schedule and Duplicate Address Resolution pages were updated. Refer to the September 5 issue of the NLAD Bulletin for more information about these updates.

·        The main NLAD page was updated to reflect the following changes. Refer to the August 26 issue of the NLAD Bulletin for more information about all updates from this week.

o   The Duplicate Resolution webpage was broken out into two parts: Duplicate Subscriber Resolution outlining the process for resolving Track 1 duplicates, and Duplicate Address Resolution outlining the process for resolving Track 2 duplicates.

o   An updated Lifeline Household Worksheet form was posted.

o   Because the migration process has completed, the NLAD Migration page was moved to the “Archived Information” category on the main NLAD 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: November 21

11/20/2014My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance: Thursday, November 20


The Rural Health Care Program’s My Portal will be unavailable Thursday, November 20, from 5:00-7:00 PM EST, for system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for health care providers or service providers. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, and search for certain forms online. We apologize for any inconvenience.

11/20/2014Special Edition News Brief - Update on the FY2015 FCC Form 470


The 11/20/14 Special Edition issue of the News Brief is now available. Receive E-rate Program tips, deadline reminders, and answers to your questions in this weekly newsletter. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

11/14/2014Telecommunications Program My Portal Software Update


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

These updates include features that will expedite the application review process and help applicants maintain Rural Health Care (RHC) Program compliance. Many of the enhancements are based on feedback from applicants.

The following updates are only applicable to the Telecommunications Program.

New FCC Form 465 Enhancement for Community Mental Health Centers

On Block 4 of FCC Form 465 (Eligibility), if an applicant checks the "Community mental health center" category, two new upload buttons will appear to allow the applicant to attach the Community Mental Health Center checklist and HCP operating license/certification. My Portal will not allow the applicant to submit the form unless both of these supporting documents have been uploaded.

New Pop-up Text Added to FCC Form 466 Recall Button

If an error is discovered after an applicant submits an FCC Form 466, My Portal allows the applicant to recall the form and make required changes using a recall button that has been added to the My Forms page. Now, when an applicant clicks this button, a pop-up text box will appear informing the applicant that this action is not reversible and that recalling the form will remove it from the USAC review queue. The applicant should click "OK" to recall the form, or "Cancel" to keep the form in the review queue and return to the My Forms page.

11/14/2014This Week’s Updates to NLAD Web Pages



For the week of November 10:
  • There were no edits to the NLAD section of the website this week.
NLAD-related website updates from prior weeks:

What is the purpose of this Latest News post?

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

Last Updated: November 14

11/11/2014HCF 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 Rural Health Care (RHC) Program compliance. Many of the enhancements are based on feedback from applicants.

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


New FCC Form 463 Population Features and Restrictions
  • On Block 3 of FCC Form 463, Column H, the Service Start Date/Shipping Date or Last Day of Work is required the first time each expense item is entered. If the same expense item is entered on an additional FCC Form 463, Column H will prepopulate with the date provided on the first instance of the expense item.
  • Each recurring expense item on Block 3 will have the Billing Period Start Date (Column I) automatically pre-populated with the earliest possible start date.
    • If this is the first invoice for the particular expense item, the start of service date or first date of the funding year will be pre-populated.
    • If other FCC Forms 463 have been approved for the same recurring expense item, the start date will be pre-populated with one day after the Billing Period End Date of the latest approved FCC Form 463.
  • On Block 4, "USF Support Amount to be Paid" (Column P) will automatically be calculated and pre-populated based on the numbers entered in columns H through N in Blocks 3 and 4. The maximum allowable amount in Column P will be restricted based on the amount approved in the Funding Commitment Letter and the time period entered.
  • An expense item cannot be included on an FCC Form 463 if there is an existing form with that expense item not yet approved. Once the FCC Form 463 containing that expense item is approved, the expense item can be included on another FCC Form 463.
FCC Form 461 for Individual HCPs Drop-Down Added
In in Block 2 of the FCC Form 461 for individual HCPs (Individual HCP Site Requests for Services), new drop down menus have been added to Line 12a for Usage Level and Usage Period.

  • In the Usage Level column, the blank text boxes have been replaced by the following drop down options: "Light," "Light-Moderate," "Moderate," "Moderate-Heavy," "Heavy," and "Other." If "Other" is selected, a text box will be displayed where the applicant can enter a different usage level, e.g. "up to 5 users at a time."
  • In the Usage Period column, the blank text boxes have been replaced by the following drop down options: "24/7," "Business hours," "Sat.-Sun.," and "Other." If "Other" is selected, a text box will be displayed where the applicant can enter a different usage period, e.g. "Monday through Thursday, 9am-noon."
Consortium FCC Form 461 Enhancements
On Block 3 of the FCC Form 461 (Consortium Request for Services), the drop down menu of participating entities has been replaced by a search pop-up with a checklist. Applicants can now search for and sort participating sites by HCP name or HCP number, and click on checkboxes to add them into Block 3.

New "My LOAs" Tab Search Criteria
Applicants can now search by LOA ID, HCP number, and submission status on the My LOAs tab.

FCC Form 463 Email Notifications
Confirmation emails for the FCC Form 463 will only be sent to primary account holders, secondary account holders, and the authorized person listed on Line 28 of the FCC Form 463. Email notifications will not be sent to tertiary account holders unless they are they are also listed as the authorized person on the form.

New Drop-Down Menu Option Added to FCC Form 462 and Network Cost Worksheet
A new expense type, "Storage Area Network," has been added to the FCC Form 462 and Network Cost Worksheet expense type drop down menus.

FCC Form 462 Contract Field for $10,000 Exemption
If submitting an FCC Form 462 using the competitive bidding exemption for total undiscounted costs of $10,000 or less, a contract is no longer required for form submission. An applicant will not be able to select the month-to-month checkbox, and may proceed without uploading a contract. Applicants will still be required to enter the service start date for each circuit.

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.

11/10/2014Webinar on November 13: E-rate Modernization Order


All participants in the Schools and Libraries (E-rate) Program are invited to join USAC for a webinar this Thursday, November 13, about the major changes resulting from the E-rate Modernization Order. Register here: E-rate Modernization Order Webinar

USAC's E-rate Program staff is planning to conduct more outreach webinars that will discuss additional topics in-depth. These events will be announced via the SL News Brief and in the Latest News section of the Schools and Libraries (E-rate) Program homepage.

11/7/2014NLAD Outage Due to Scheduled System Maintenance: Wednesday, November 12


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable due to scheduled system maintenance on Wednesday, November 12, from 9:00 PM to 11:59 PM EST.

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

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

11/7/2014Interstate Duplicate Address Resolution Process to Begin on November 10, 2014


This NLAD Bulletin describes the process for resolving interstate addresses duplicates. These subscribers were identified as having a duplicate address during the NLAD migration process and must undergo duplicate resolution. This process is similar to the Duplicate Address Resolution Process (track 2); however, the deadlines associated with the resolution of these subscribers differ (please see dates below).

The interstate duplicate address resolution process will begin on November 10, 2014. More information about this process will be available shortly in the Duplicate Resolution section of the Lifeline Program website.

How to Identify Interstate Address Duplicates
To view duplicate records for interstate address duplicates, log in to NLAD and select the "Detail Duplicate Subscriber Report" under the "Reports and Tools" section. The records for subscribers identified as interstate address duplicates will appear as "Migration – Duplicate Address" in the "duplicate type" field of this report.

Complete Household Worksheets and Check the IEH Flag by January 31, 2015
Once the process begins, carriers must complete the following procedures for subscribers listed as "Migration – Duplicate Address" in the "Detail Duplicate Subscriber Report." These procedures must be completed for all such subscribers by January 31, 2015. Please note that this deadline pertains only to the subscribers that are listed as "Migration Duplicate Address" in the "Detail Duplicate Subscriber Report" in NLAD:
  1. Obtain a Lifeline Household Worksheet from each of these subscribers marked as "Migration Duplicate Address."
  2. Re-enroll the subscriber using the "Enroll Subscriber" feature in NLAD with a checked "IEH flag" and enter the IEH certification date if the subscriber is determined to be an independent economic household.
  3. Carriers must keep records of all subscribers re-enrolled in NLAD under this guidance.
From November 10, 2014 to January 31, 2015, carriers will not have the ability to update or de-enroll these subscribers in NLAD. However, carriers can, as explained above, directly re-enroll these subscribers in NLAD, provided they have a valid household worksheet and re-enroll the subscribers with an IEH flag.

USAC Removes All Records Listed as "Migration – Duplicate Address" on February 1
On February 1, 2015, USAC will remove all records listed as "Migration Duplicate Address" in the "Detail Duplicate Subscriber Report" from NLAD.

11/6/2014My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance: Friday, November 7


The Rural Health Care Program’s My Portal will be unavailable Friday, November 7, from 5:00-8:00 PM ET, for system maintenance. This outage applies to FY2012-2014 only. We apologize for any inconvenience.

10/31/2014Information about the Interstate Duplicate Subscriber Resolution Process


This NLAD bulletin will address questions from carriers regarding the interstate duplicate subscriber resolution process. An "interstate duplicate subscriber" refers to a subscriber receiving duplicate Lifeline Program benefits in more than one state.

Letters to Subscribers
USAC will send all interstate duplicate subscribers a letter on November 5, 2014, requesting that they select a single Lifeline Program benefit within 35 days from the date of the letter. The subscriber letter will be identical to the letter used during the "Track 1" duplicate subscriber resolution process; a copy of the letter is available on our website.

Toll-Free Phone Number for Consumers for Interstate Duplicate Subscriber Resolution
The letter contains a toll-free phone number where subscribers can make their single Lifeline Program benefit selection: (866) 212-9729. This phone number is reserved exclusively for use in the interstate duplicate subscriber resolution process; no other consumer assistance can be provided for unrelated Lifeline Program matters through this phone number.

Updates to NLAD During the 35-Day Period
If you wish to notify USAC that a subscriber that is involved in the interstate duplicate has already been de-enrolled from your company, please follow these procedures:
  1. Confirm that the subscriber(s) appear on the "Detail Duplicate Subscriber Report" as "Migration – Duplicate Subscribers" or as "Migration – Duplicate Subscriber – Active," in the "duplicate type" field.
  2. If they are not currently one of your active subscribers, email us for assistance. In your email, provide your study area code (SAC) and the phone numbers associated with the interstate duplicate subscriber for which you would like to have de-enrolled from NLAD.
  3. USAC will send a notification when the interstate duplicate resolution process has concluded and carriers will be able to confirm the requested de-enrollment(s) through the "Duplicate Resolution De-Enroll Report" under the "Reports and Tools" section in NLAD.

Questions about NLAD
More information about the interstate duplicate subscriber resolution process will be available shortly on the Duplicate Resolution page of the Lifeline Program website.

If you have any questions about the interstate duplicate resolution process, please contact us via email or (877) 524-1325.

10/28/2014FCC Releases FY2015 Eligible Services List report and Order


On Tuesday, October 28, 2014, the Federal Communications Commission released a Report and Order (DA 14-1556) releasing the Eligible Services List for Funding Year 2015.

10/23/2014NLAD Outage Due to System Maintenance: Saturday-Sunday October 25-26


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable due to scheduled system maintenance related to the Interstate Duplicate Subscriber Resolution Process from Saturday, October 25, at 8:00 PM to Sunday, October 26, at 3:00 AM EDT.

The NLAD pre-production and production environments will not be available for use during this time. A summary of new functionality, bug fixes, and known issues for this release is available in the NLAD v2.3.6 Release Notes; the same release notes that were sent out on October 8.

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

Interstate Duplicate Subscriber Resolution Process to Begin Saturday, October 25 at 8:00 PM EDT
An "interstate duplicate subscriber" refers to a subscriber receiving Lifeline Program benefits in more than one state. USAC is prepared to begin the duplicate resolution process for these subscribers starting October 25, 2014. This process will be identical to the Track 1 resolution process, which will give subscribers the opportunity to select their carrier of choice.

The start date for the interstate duplicate subscriber resolution process is Saturday, October 25, 2014 at 8:00 PM EDT; the process is described below. More information about the interstate duplicate subscriber resolution process will be available shortly on the Duplicate Resolution page of the Lifeline Program website.

Report of Interstate Duplicate Subscribers Available in NLAD
Carriers can see their interstate duplicate subscribers using the "Detail Duplicate Subscriber Report" in the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD). Interstate duplicate subscribers may appear two ways in the "duplicate type" field:
 
  • "Migration – Duplicate Subscribers," entries that were immediately identified as duplicates upon migration, or
  • "Migration – Duplicate Subscriber – Active," entries that were accepted as active subscribers upon migration, but were later identified as an interstate duplicate.

The duplicate resolution process will begin once USAC moves all affected active records ("Migration- Duplicate Subscriber – Active") from production into duplicate resolution. The changes to these records in the active subscriber listing will occur during the outage on Saturday, October 25 from 8:00 PM EDT to 3:00 AM EDT Sunday, October 26.

Letters to Subscribers and the 35-Day Selection Period
USAC will send all interstate duplicate subscribers a letter requesting that they select a single Lifeline Program benefit within 35 days (from the date of the letter). The subscriber letter will be identical to the letter used during the Track 1 duplicate resolution process. During this 35-day period, NLAD will not allow de-enrollment or changes to the interstate duplicate subscriber’s information. I

f the subscriber fails to make a selection in the 35-day period, the randomly-selected default carrier indicated on the letter will be designated as their single Lifeline Program service provider. Letters will be mailed starting the week of November 3, 2014.

Questions about NLAD
If you have any questions about the interstate duplicate resolution process, please contact us via email or (877) 524-1325.

10/22/2014RESOLVED: NLAD System Intermittent Issues


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) is experiencing issues for subscriber transaction requests and the subscriber verify function. Users are still able to log in and perform non-transactional functions, such as accessing reports, submitting dispute resolution requests and account management functions.

USAC is diligently working to resolve this issue as soon as possible and will provide notice once the issue is resolved.

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

10/21/2014My 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 of the enhancements are based on feedback from applicants.

The following updates are only applicable to the RHC Telecommunications Program.

New FCC Form 466 Recall Function
If an error is discovered after an applicant submits an FCC Form 466, My Portal now allows the applicant to recall the form and make required changes using a recall button that has been added to the "My Forms" page. When the applicant clicks this button, My Portal will recall the form from USAC and return it to the applicant in draft status. The applicant can then make corrections, re-attach supporting documentation, re-certify and re-submit the form to USAC.

About the Recall Function:
  • The recall function is not reversible; once used, the form will come out of the review queue. The applicant will then need to re-certify and re-submit the form for USAC to review.
  • Recalling a form will not change the original submission date of the form, even if it is after the close of the funding year.
  • The recall function is only available until the form has been assigned to a reviewer. Once the form has been assigned to a reviewer, applicants will see a pop-up message stating that the function is no longer available.
  • The recall function is located under the "Action Required" column but is an optional feature. This button should be used only when changes are required to a submitted form. Use the PDF button to review a previously submitted form.

New FCC Form 467 Pop-up Text Added

On Block 3 of the FCC Form 467, new pop-up boxes have been added to confirm the appropriate selection has been made. Applicants are encouraged to review the Funding Commitment Letter (FCL) with the service provider before submitting the FCC Form 467. Making the wrong selection in Block 3 may reduce or cancel the commitment amount on the FCL. 
  • Selecting the first option (confirming connection) will generate a pop-up box explaining that the selection will confirm all the information on the FCL.
  • The second option (notifying USAC of the disconnection of a discounted service) will generate a pop-up box explaining that this selection will change, and possibly reduce the FCL.
  • The third option (informing USAC that the service was not (or will not be) turned on during the funding year) will generate a pop-up box alerting the applicant that this option will cancel the funding commitment, resulting in zero funding for this service.
  • If an applicant selects any option in error, the applicant can select “Close” in the pop-up box to return and select the proper option.

New FCC Form 466 Circuit Start/End Locations Population Feature

The circuit start and end locations on the FCC Form 466 Lines 26 and 27 are now available in radio buttons. The HCP location, as documented on the FCC Form 465, can be selected for either the circuit start or the circuit end location. The opposing address must be typed manually into the form. This function works with multi-bill circuits, as well.

Changes to BAN Labels on Invoice Template and Support Schedule Language
While the correct Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN) is required in order for a service provider to receive payment, the Billing Account Number (BAN) is not required for invoicing or remittance. Changes to the BAN will not impact invoicing or payment. The column headers on the invoice template and the language in the support schedule have been changed to indicate that the BAN is provided by the HCP.

HCPs Now Available to Be Claimed after the FCC Form 465 is Withdrawn
HCPs will now appear as "Available" in the "Search by Zip Code" results, and can be claimed by the account holder after the FCC Form 465 was withdrawn.

Tips for Known Issues
  • Users may be experiencing technical difficulties when attempting to use My Portal in a Chrome browser due to a recent Chrome browser updates. We will deploy a fix to this in coming months. In the meantime, we suggest using a different browser.
  • Some funding denial letters are missing content in the section of the letter that describes the reason for the denial. If an applicant receives a denial letter without this text, email us.
  • On Block 4 of the FCC Form 466, when “Other” is selected from the "Circuit Bandwidth" drop down menu, the applicant will get an error message if any characters except numbers are entered on the line. To avoid an error message, be sure to enter the speed with numbers only and no letters, e.g. “10” instead of “10 Mbps.”

Learn More, Receive Assistance

Stay in touch with the RHC Program. Subscribe to the RHC Circuit quarterly newsletter to receive updates about My Portal and other RHC Program news. For immediate assistance about the Telecommunications Program, submit questions via email.

10/17/2014Invitation to FCC-USAC HCF Program Webinar


Join USAC and the FCC for a webinar about the Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program. Topics include a first year retrospective of the HCF Program, updates that USAC is implementing, and a question and answer session.

Register here
: FCC-USAC HCF Program Webinar 
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
2:00 to 3:00 PM EDT

We encourage participants to submit questions in advance using the webinar registration form. If you think of a question after you register, please send it to RHC Program Outreach.

Webinar Topics
USAC and the FCC will present updates and best practices for the HCF Program. Webinar participants will learn about:
  • HCF Program first year retrospective overview
  • Best practices
  • My Portal update
  • Customer service

After the discussion of agenda items, staff will answer questions from the audience. We welcome suggestions for additional topics to RHC Program Outreach.

Need Help?
More information about HCF Program events is available on the Trainings & Outreach page of the RHC Program website.

If you have difficulty connecting to the webinar on October 28, contact USAC Outreach. For questions about the HCF Program, contact HCF staff via email or call the HCF Program Help Desk at (800) 453-1546.

10/16/2014FAQs: Use of Lifeline Household Worksheet


Prior to the Release of the FCC's Public Notice for the Duplicate Address Resolution (Track 2) Process
Prior to the release of the FCC Wireline Competition Bureau's Public Notice announcing the Duplicate Address Resolution (Track 2) process (i.e. prior to Aug. 25, 2014), the FCC allowed carriers to attempt to obtain household worksheets for subscribers on the carrier's report of inter-company duplicate addresses (also known as "inter-company household duplicates").

The household worksheet used by carriers for this process is posted to the Eligibility Requirements page of LifelineSupport.org.  

If a carrier sent this household worksheet to a subscriber before August 25, 2014, the carrier may use that worksheet to resolve the duplicate address issue for a subscriber who is included in the carrier's inter-company household duplicate report, available in NLAD.

If a subscriber, who was contacted by the carrier prior to August 25, 2014, returns the household worksheet after August 25, 2014, the carrier can still use that form to resolve the inter-company household duplicate issue for that subscriber.

After the Release of the FCC's Public Notice for the Duplicate Address Resolution (Track 2) Process
After the release of the FCC's Public Notice announcing the Duplicate Address Resolution (Track 2) process for resolving inter-company household duplicates, carriers must follow the process outlined on the Duplicate Address Resolution page of the USAC website.

The household worksheet found on the Duplicate Address Resolution page should only be used for the Duplicate Address Resolution (Track 2) process, as it discusses specific scenarios related to that process.

For Business as Usual
For regular Lifeline Program business, unrelated to NLAD duplicate resolution, carriers should continue using the household worksheet provided on the Eligibility Requirements page of LifelineSupport.org, or use a household worksheet which is compliant with paragraph 78 of the Lifeline Reform Order.

10/15/2014498/499 Spotlight Newsletter 4Q2014 Issued


The 4Q2014 498/499 Spotlight quarterly newsletter is now available. The 498/499 Spotlight newsletter is designed to provide important, up-to-date information about the FCC Form 498 and FCC Form 499 including news, deadlines, and filing best practices for service providers.

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

10/15/2014NLAD Outage Due to System Maintenance: Thursday, October 16 and Saturday, October 18


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable due to system maintenance on Thursday, October 16, from 9:00-11:59 PM EDT.

NLAD will also be unavailable due to monthly scheduled maintenance on Saturday, October 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. We apologize for any inconvenience.

10/3/2014Fourth Quarter 2014 FCC 499-Q Now Available and Due November 3


FCC rules require all telecommunications carriers and interconnected VoIP providers that are required to contribute directly to universal service and that are not de minimis exempt companies to file a quarterly Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet (FCC Form 499-Q). 

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

USAC encourages universal service contributors to submit their FCC Form 499-Q using E-File. Users can retrieve historical forms, edit and submit changes, and certify online.

If you have questions about FCC Form 499-Q, contact us.

10/3/2014My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance: Thursday, October 9


The Rural Health Care Program’s My Portal will be unavailable due to system maintenance on Thursday, October 9, from 5:00-7:00 PM EDT. Online forms will not be accessible for health care providers or service providers. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, and search for certain forms online. We apologize for any inconvenience.

10/3/2014NLAD Outage Due to System Maintenance: Wednesday, October 8


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable due to system maintenance on Wednesday, October 8, from 9:00-11:59 PM 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. We apologize for any inconvenience.

10/1/2014October 2014 HCLI News Issued


The October 2014 issue of HCLI News is now available.

10/1/20142014 Applicant Training Agenda and Presentations Available


The 2014 Applicant Training agenda and presentations are available.

9/30/2014Third Quarter 2014 RHC Circuit Issued


The 3Q2014 RHC Circuit has been issued. To subscribe, please visit our subscription center.

9/30/2014My Portal Outage Due to Scheduled System Maintenance


The Rural Health Care Program’s My Portal will be unavailable Tuesday, September 30, from 5:00-5:30 PM EDT, for system maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.

9/29/2014Reminder - File Section 54.314 Certification by October 1


Carriers receiving High Cost Program support, who are not certified by their state commissions, must submit the Section 54.314 Certification to USAC and the FCC by Wednesday, October 1, 2014, to fulfill the annual certification requirements pursuant to 47 CFR Section 54.314.

How to File the Certification
State commissions and self-certifying carriers are encouraged to certify online through E-File, USAC's online filing system. Online filing guides are available on the High Cost Program Forms page.

Certifications can also be submitted to USAC via email or U.S. mail. When using these submission methods, use the sample letters provided on the High Cost Program Forms page. When submitting via U.S. mail, send the completed certification to the mailing address provided in the sample letters.

How to Log In to E-File
State commissions should have received their E-File system user names and passwords. If you have not received yours, please contact USAC via email. The State Certification Online User Guide can be found on the USAC website.

Self-certifiers should access the E-File system using their existing login and click on "54.314 Certifications" on the left-hand tool bar. The Self-Use Certification Online User Guide can be found on the USAC website.

Additional Assistance
A Frequently Asked Questions page has been created about the Section 54.314 Certification. We will continue to update this page throughout the filing period until the October 1, 2014, deadline.

For an overview of how to file a Section 54.314 Certification online, watch a recording of the Section 54.314 Certification Online Filing Webinar.

For questions about the Section 54.314 Certification, or if you represent a state commission and need help with the E-File system, contact HC Certs.

Self-certifiers who need help with the E-File system, contact USAC Customer Support at (888) 641-8722, select "Option 3" (498 Support), then "Option 1" (logging into the E-File system), or contact us via email.

9/25/2014HCF Program Resources, Updates, and More for RHC Pilot Projects


The webinar "HCF Program Resources, Updates, and More for RHC Pilot Projects" is only a week away. If you haven't registered already, sign up today!

Register here: HCF Program Resources, Updates, and More for RHC Pilot Projects
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
2:00 to 3:00 PM ET

We encourage participants to submit questions in advance using the webinar registration form. If you think of a question after you register, please send it to RHC Program Outreach.

Presentation Topics
This webinar will be tailored to Pilot projects who would like to learn more about making a successful transition to the HCF Program, and will also feature processing updates and information about USAC resources. Webinar participants will learn about:
  • Recent customer service enhancements and how to reach USAC staff to get more information and provide suggestions
  • What you can do to prepare for HCF Program success
  • HCF Program best practices
  • RHC Program news including the waived FY2013 annual reporting requirement and the updated rural areas list
  • Funding and processing statistics
  • Training and communication about the HCF Program

After the discussion of agenda items, RHC Program staff will answer questions from the audience. Please send suggestions for additional topics to RHC Program Outreach.

Need Help?
More information about HCF Program events is available on the Trainings & Outreach page of the RHC Program website.

If you have difficulty connecting to the webinar on September 30, contact USAC Outreach.

For questions about the HCF Program, contact HCF Program staff via email or call the HCF Program Help Desk at (800) 453-1546.

9/22/2014Draft FCC Forms 470 and 471 Submitted to OMB


The FCC is seeking Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval for updates to the 2015 FCC Forms 470 and 471 based on guidance from the E-rate Modernization Order. To review the draft forms and instructions, or read the FCC’s Federal Register notice of its submission to the OMB, visit the E-rate Modernization Order information page.

9/18/2014My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance: Thursday, September 18


The Rural Health Care Program’s My Portal will be unavailable Thursday, September 18, from 5:00-7:00 PM EDT, for system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for health care providers or service providers. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, and search for certain forms online. We apologize for any inconvenience.

9/18/2014FCC Form 499-A Online Filing Demo Now Available


On July 14, USAC launched a new, user-friendly online version of the FCC Form 499-A, the annual Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet. The new interface simplifies the registration and revenue reporting process and includes new verifications and data checks, as well as a clear summary of total revenues by categories to help ensure that filings are done correctly the first time.

A new video is now available to demonstrate how to file using the online FCC Form 499-A. Compared to the New Interface Overview video, the new Online Filing Demo video will provide a navigational overview of the new interface as well as a more comprehensive demonstration of data entry, resolving error and alert notifications, and reviewing and submitting the online form to USAC.

9/15/2014FCC Announces Fourth Quarter 2014 Contribution Factor Increase to 16.1 Percent


The Federal Communications Commission released a Public Notice (DA 14-1315) announcing that the proposed universal service contribution factor for the fourth quarter (October-December) of 2014 will be 0.161 or 16.1 percent.

9/5/2014Updates to NLAD Web Pages


The following pages of the Lifeline Program website have been updated with new information:

Duplicate Address Resolution Page
  • In the "Process for Resolving Duplicate Addresses" section, clarification was added to "Step 3: For subscribers who fail to provide the household worksheet within the 30-day window."
  • The clarification states that the carrier must de-enroll the subscriber from their internal company system within five business days of the 30-day window, and no later than December 30, and provides an example.
  • This step was also updated to include an example of the clarification of the requirement.

Maintenance Schedule Page
  • Added the system maintenance scheduled for September 11 at 9:00 PM EDT, a re-release of version 2.3.4.

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

9/4/2014Annual Reporting Waived for Funding Year 2013


Per the FCC’s release of Public Notice DA 14-853 on June 19, 2014, the annual reporting requirement for Rural Health Care (RHC) Pilot Program and Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program consortium leaders has been waived for Funding Year (FY) 2013 (July 1, 2013 – June 30, 2014).

Beginning in FY2014, annual reports will be used to collect data based on the three performance goals stated in the HCF Order:
  1. to increase access to broadband for health care providers;
  2. to foster the development and deployment of broadband health care networks; and
  3. to minimize the burden on the federal universal service fund by ensuring cost-effectiveness of the program.

The FCC will review comments submitted in response to the Public Notice about how to best measure performance goals and how to structure these reports for FY2014 and beyond.

Need Assistance?
For more information about annual reports, contact the RHC Help Desk via email or by phone at (800) 453-1546.

As a reminder, the "RHC-Admin(at)usac(dot)org" email address and (800) 229-5476 phone number are no longer valid. Please view the HCF Program Contact Us page to ensure that you reach the right RHC Program team members.

Other HCF Program Outreach and Training Opportunities
Stay in touch with the RHC Program to learn more about the application process:
  • Subscribe to the RHC Circuit quarterly newsletter,
  • Participate in the HCF Program quarterly webinar for consortium leaders, held the second Tuesday of the month,
  • Make a one-on-one appointment at the ATA Fall Forum, the American Telemedicine Association's Annual Conference in Palm Desert, CA, on September 6-9.

If you have any questions, contact us via email or call the HCF Program Help Desk at (800) 453-1546.

9/4/2014HCF Program Outreach at the 2014 ATA Fall Forum


The RHC Program team will be exhibiting at the ATA Fall Forum in Desert Springs, CA, on September 6-9, 2014. If you're attending the conference, stop by and visit us in the exhibit hall for general information about the Healthcare Connect Fund, or make an appointment for an in-depth discussion about your application.

Visit our website to learn more about the RHC Program's participation in the ATA Fall Forum.

Visit Us in the Exhibit Hall
The RHC Program staff will be available to answer general questions about the HCF and Telecommunications programs during exhibit hours at booth #306 of the Spring Ballroom. Find us listed in the directory as "Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC)."

Make a One-on-One Consortium Consultation Appointment
Current and prospective HCF Program consortium leaders, including former Pilot Program project consortia leaders, can schedule an appointment to discuss their application in depth. You can also schedule an appointment during the conference by scanning the QR code at the USAC exhibit booth (#306).

If you would like to speak with a staff member about issues related to consortia and cannot find a time that is convenient for you, or if you're not attending the ATA Fall Forum, email us to schedule a call after the conference.

About the ATA Fall Forum
The ATA Fall Forum is the American Telemedicine Association's annual conference. To learn more about the conference, visit the 2014 ATA Fall Forum website.

Need Additional Assistance?
For more information about this event, visit the ATA 2014 Exhibit and Appointments page on our website or contact USAC Training with questions.

8/26/2014FCC Releases Public Notice About Duplicate Address Resolution (Track 2) Process


On August 25, 2014, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 14-1234) describing the Duplicate Address Resolution process for resolving Track 2 inter-company duplicates (i.e., same address, different ETCs) in the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD).

Please review the following resources to learn more about Track 2 duplicates and the process for Duplicate Address Resolution:
 

Visit USAC's website for more information about Duplicate Address Resolution.

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

8/26/2014USAC Names Chris Henderson As CEO


USAC is pleased to announce the appointment of Chris Henderson as Chief Executive Officer. Henderson will assume his new position effective September 3, 2014.

 

Henderson began his career in investment banking and private equity, where he spent fifteen years, before joining the Mayor of Denver's senior management team as Chief Operating Officer (COO). He then served as Senior Advisor to Secretary Salazar at the U.S. Department of the Interior where he led the Department’s administration of $3 billion in Recovery Act funds and reorganization of the Minerals Management Service following the Gulf oil spill. Most recently, Henderson served as Director/Chief Operating Officer at ASI Government, a provider of consulting services to the federal government. Henderson received a BA in Political Science, summa cum laude, from the University of Colorado and an MBA from Columbia University in New York.

 

Dr. Brian Talbott, Chair of the USAC Board of Directors, stated, “Chris brings to USAC over twenty years of experience and leadership in both the private and public sectors. Chris's unique combination of proven leadership, experiences, and history of delivering successful outcomes in complex environments makes him an excellent fit to lead USAC. We're delighted to welcome Chris as USAC’s new CEO and a member of the USAC Board of Directors."

 

Henderson's selection comes after the USAC Board of Directors conducted a nation-wide search. Federal Communications Chairman Tom Wheeler approved the USAC Board's unanimous nomination of Chris Henderson as USAC CEO on August 26, 2014.

 

Read the press release.

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1.    He requests de-enrollment on July 1.

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

Performance Goal

Proposed Data Collection

Increase access to broadband for health care providers

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

Specific data points include:

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

Foster the development and deployment of broadband health care networks

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

Maximize the cost-effectiveness of the HCF Program

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

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

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

7/16/2014My Portal Monthly Software Update


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

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

Telecommunications Program Updates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

7/1/2014July 2014 HCLI News Issued


The July 2014 issue of HCLI News is now available.

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

6/23/2014NLAD Partial System Outage


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

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

6/20/2014Technical Difficulties in My Portal


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

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

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

6/20/2014June Software Update for My Portal


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

6/18/2014Upcoming Duplicate Resolution Dates and Deadlines


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Tuesday, July 1: New York

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

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

  • Thursday, June 19: Florida

  • Tuesday, June 24: Michigan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

6/16/2014NLAD System Partial Outage


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

Updates to NLAD Outage Schedule

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

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

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

Questions about NLAD

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

Checklist for FCC Form 498 Company Officers/General Contacts

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

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

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

About FCC Form 481

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

More Information

For questions about FCC Form 481, contact HCLI Questions.

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

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

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

5/23/2014NLAD Outage Schedule for 2014


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

Read the press release.

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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