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498/499 Spotlight - November 2016

 

498/499 SPOTLIGHT BANNER

4th Quarter 2016

In this issue...

 

Deadlines   |   Revenue Reporting   |   Did You Know   l   At the FCC   l   Program Highlights

DUE ITEM More Details
     
Nov 1 FCC Form 499-Q File FCC Form 499-Q
Nov 15 Universal service contributions Making Payments
Dec 15 Universal service contributions Making Payments

Report Revenues on FCC Form 499-Q by Nov. 1, 2016

Each quarter, all telecommunications carriers and all interconnected VoIP providers that are not de minimis and thus required to contribute directly to the Universal Service Fund must file the FCC Form 499-Q (Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet) with USAC.
 
The FCC Form 499-Q is used to collect carrier revenue information and to determine the carrier's universal service contribution obligation for the upcoming quarter.
 
Universal service contributors must submit their FCC Form 499-Q using E-File. Users can pull up historical forms, edit and submit changes, and certify online.
 
If you have questions about the revenue you are reporting on your form, or the dates listed here, call USAC's Customer Operations team at (888) 641-8722.

 

Revenue data you will provide on the November FCC Form 499-Q

Actual billed revenue from July 1-September 30, 2016, on lines 115-118

 

Projected billed and projected collected revenue from January 1-March 31, 2017, on lines 119-120

November FCC Form 499-Q revision deadline December 15, 2016
Resulting USAC invoices

Based on the January 1-March 31, 2017, projected collected revenue reported:

 

Invoices issued in January, February, and March 2017

 

Payments due in February, March, and April 2017

 

De minimis carriers do not need to complete FCC Form 499-Q. Visit the De Minimis page on the USAC website to find out if your company qualifies as de minimis.


Fourth Quarter 2016 Contribution Factor Lowered to 17.4 Percent?

The FCC released a Public Notice (DA 16-1024 ) announcing that the proposed universal service contribution factor for the fourth quarter (October-December) of 2016 will be lowered to 0.174, or 17.4 percent.

 

Contact Us

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De Minimis Exemption

The FCC's de minimis rules provide a contribution exemption for companies whose annual universal service contribution is less than $10,000. In October of each year, a carrier should review its interstate and international revenue forecasts for the upcoming year. Based on the FCC's estimated contribution factor on its de minimis worksheet, the FCC predicts that carriers with less than $56,023 of annual interstate and international revenues will be de minimis for calendar year 2017. 

If a company no longer meets the requirements of the de minimis exemption, it should prepare an FCC Form 499-Q filing for submission to USAC and notify its underlying providers that it will be contributing directly to the Universal Service Fund in the coming year.   

If a company, however, continues to meet the requirements of this exemption, it should email USAC to confirm the company's continuing de minimis status each quarter and notify its underlying providers that it is not contributing directly to universal service, so that it may be treated as an end user when the underlying provider files the FCC Form 499-A. 

The de minimis exemption is applicable to universal service support only and does not affect a company's contribution obligations for Local Number Portability (LNP), North American Numbering Plan (NANP), or Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS).  

Visit the De Minimis page on our website to find out if your company qualifies as de minimis.

Invoice Enhancements

Beginning in September 2016, USAC added a new section, "Account Status," to your monthly contributor invoice. The "Account Status" section appears on page one of your invoice and provides information such as:
  • Outstanding FCC Form 499 needing to be filed
  • Red Light status
  • Outstanding balances at the Department of Treasury 
In addition, we have renamed the line items "DCIA Transfer" and "DCIA Transfer Reversal" in the "Statement of Account" section on page one to "Debt Transferred to Treasury" and "Debt Recalled from Treasury," respectively.

Differences Between the FCC Forms 499-A and 499-Q

New filers sometimes get confused by references to the FCC Forms 499-A and 499-Q. The FCC Form 499-A (A stands for annual) is the form that is due every year on April 1. This is the long form that asks for the names of company officers, a regulatory contact, and an agent for service of process. You report your revenue from the previous calendar year on this form. Every company that holds a 499 Filer ID is required to file the FCC Form 499-A by April 1 every year.   

The FCC Form 499-Q (Q is for quarterly) is due once per quarter on the first day of the months of February, May, August, and November. In conversations with contributors, USAC refers to the form using the month that the 499-Q is due. For example, the upcoming quarter's form is called the "November Form 499-Q." We use the projected revenue entered on the 499-Q to calculate the amount due on your upcoming invoice. Contributors need to pay attention to their estimate and enter only one-fourth of the estimated annual revenue.

For an in-depth discussion on the Forms 499, please visit the What and How to File page.

Block 5: Regional Percentages, LNP, and Other Funds

A common finding in audits is that filers do not correctly identify their Local Number Portability (LNP) percentages for each region reported on Lines 503-509 of the FCC Form 499-A. This is usually due to: 1. including non-telecommunications revenue in the determination of the LNPA percentages, and/or 2. using old information to determine these percentages. LNPA percentages should only represent your telecommunications revenues (see below). In addition, you should revisit your calculation of LNPA percentages on a periodic basis to ensure the information is current. 
Learn more about the specifics of reporting LNP, exclusions, and more below. 

LNP Contribution Reporting
Enter regional revenue percentages for LNP in Block 5 of the FCC Form 499-A. This section shows the distribution of your revenue over LNPA regions. These percentages are used to calculate your LNP contribution. The only filers who do not have to show this distribution are payphone service providers, private service providers, and shared-tenant service providers that have certified that they are exempt from contributing to LNP. 

Block 5 is divided into seven (7) regions requiring filers to report percentages on each line: 
  • Line 503: Southeast,
  • Line 504: Western, 
  • Line 505: West Coast, 
  • Line 506: Mid-Atlantic, 
  • Line 507: Mid-West, 
  • Line 508: Northeast, and 
  • Line 509: Southwest. 
If you have been in telecom for many years, you will notice the above breakdown's resemblance to the seven regions into which the country was split during the breakup of the Bell system in 1984. 
The totals of the percentages of all the regions (Lines 503-509) are calculated for you on Line 510: Totals.

The percentage of revenue in each area is based on percent of revenues billed in that location. So if you have total end-user revenues of $1000, and $750 is billed to a customer in Maryland and $250 is billed to a customer in North Carolina, then you would report 25% for the Southeast region on Line 503 and 75% for the Mid-Atlantic on Line 506. 

On the Data Entry screen, the left column, Carrier's Carrier Revenue Region, shows the percentage of revenue by region from the revenue reported in Block 3. The column next to it, End-User Telecom, shows the percentage by revenue by region from the end-user telecommunication revenue reported in Block 4. Further, it's important to note that the revenue reported in this column should exclude non-telecommunications revenue reported on Line 418. For each column, if percentages were reported, then the total percentage must add up to 100%.

Excluding Revenue for TRS, NANPA, LNP, and ITSP
Resellers that do not contribute to universal service support mechanisms but contribute directly to the other funds, do not need to be included in the provider's TRS, NANPA, LNP, and FCC Interstate Telecommunications Service Provider (ITSP) contribution bases. The filer may accomplish this by placing this revenue on Line 511. Please note that you must have the Filer ID for each customer you list on Line 511.

TRS Contribution Reporting
Report uncollectible revenue or bad debt expense associated with TRS contribution base amounts on Line 513. You can find this entry on the main revenue Data Entry screen. It is also listed out separately on the Revenue Information Summary screen. The revenue you enter here is subtracted from your TRS contribution base. 

New Website Page: Common Audit Findings

USAC is committed to assisting contributors in filing Forms 499 that are accurate, properly documented, and in compliance with rules established by the FCC. So we pulled together the most common audit findings around these forms and how to best avoid them on a new page called Common Audit Findings: Contributors.

USAC Move

The Universal Service Administrative Company offices moved effective July 12, 2016. Here's our new address:  

Universal Service Administrative Co.
700 12th Street NW, Suite 900
Washington, DC 20005

All phone numbers remain the same.

Invoice Request

Didn't receive your monthly contributor invoice?  Request a copy of your invoice by contacting the Customer Operations team via email with the following information included in the body of the email: Requestor's name, Filer ID, and statement month. Invoice requests will be processed via email within 24-48 hours of the time the request was received.

 

If your name is not listed as an authorized user for the Filer ID, USAC cannot provide you with a copy of an invoice

Rural Health Care: What You Should Know About Filing Window Periods and Funding Caps

On August 26, 2016, the FCC released a Public Notice announcing the additional filing window periods and outlined upcoming changes to the submission of Funding Request forms for both the Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) and Telecom Rural Health Care programs. A filing window period is a time in which applicants can submit funding requests (FCC Forms 462 and 466). 

The implementation of filing window periods offers applicants an equal opportunity to receive a portion of their request if the $400 million annual funding cap is met or exceeded. Absent such filing window period periods, all RHC Program funding would be subject to the "first-come, first-served" approach that is currently in place, and, once the $400 million cap is met, subsequently filed requests would not receive any RHC Program funding. 

USAC treats all funding requests received during a filing window period as if they were filed at the same time. Service providers should remain responsive to information requests and provide accurate information, so that forms subject to the filing window period can be processed in a timely manner.
 
There are two new funding request filing window periods for FY2016:
  • September 1, 2016-November 30, 2016
  • February 1, 2017-April 30, 2017
  • Possibility of future filing window periods after April 30, 2017    
The filing window period will not affect other eligibility, request for services, or invoicing forms, including the FCC Forms 460, 465, 461, and 463. These forms will be processed as usual, restricted only to their own stipulated RHC Program deadlines. 

Invoice Deadline Lookup for the Healthcare Connect Fund Program

USAC has made it easier to look up invoice deadlines by providing a searchable spreadsheet on our website. Invoicing is a joint process between an applicant and their service provider using the FCC Form 463 (Invoice and Request for Disbursement Form). The HCF Program's invoicing deadline is six months after the funding commitment end date. The deadline is included in the funding commitment letter (FCL) that USAC sends via email after processing the FCC Form 462 (Funding Request Form).

 
Service providers should keep in mind that all FCC Forms 463 must be in USAC's queue prior to their invoice deadline date, and invoices must be reviewed and approved by the service provider to be considered submitted to USAC. 


The new searchable spreadsheet includes all FRNs with future invoice deadlines and all FRNs that are less than six months past their expiration date. Please keep in mind that you should only use this spreadsheet for the purposes of identifying the invoice deadline for your commitment. This spreadsheet does not reflect form submissions, payment status, or funds remaining. It is updated on a bi-weekly basis, and the specific date of the last refresh will be reflected at the top of the spreadsheet.

 

For more information about invoicing, visit the Invoice USAC web page. If you have questions about remaining funding, you can log in to My Portal or contact the RHC Help Desk by email at rhc-assist@usac.org or call (800) 453-1546.

 

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4Q 2016