In order to participate in the Rural Health Care Program, a service provider must complete two basic steps. These two steps make the provider eligible to participate.
For telecommunications service providers, the first step is to complete and file an FCC Form 499-A (Annual Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet) and, except for providers who are deemed de minimis, the FCC Form 499-Q (Quarterly Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet).
The FCC Form 499-A is used to true up universal service billings, and the FCC Form 499-Q is used to assess monthly universal service contribution obligations for the upcoming quarter. With very limited exceptions, all intrastate, interstate, and international providers of telecommunications in the United States must file an FCC Form 499-A and 499-Q. This includes most telecommunications carriers and all interconnected VoIP providers including those that qualify for the de minimis exception under the Commission's universal service rules. You can learn more about the FCC Forms 499-A/Q, including how to file, and who must file, on the USAC Forms page.
The second step is to obtain a USAC-provided 498 ID (formerly known as SPIN) by completing an FCC Form 498 (Service Provider and Billed Entity Identification Number and General Contact Information Form).
The FCC Form 498 collects the service provider name, address, phone numbers, email addresses, contact names, and billing and collection information. USAC uses this information to administer the billing, collection, and disbursement operations of the federal universal service programs. Once the information has been validated and approved, USAC will issue a 498 ID. This is a unique number assigned to each service provider by USAC, and serves as USAC's tool to ensure that approved support is directed to the correct service provider.
The FCC Form 498 can also be used to consolidate, merge, or deactivate existing 498 IDs due to a merger, acquisition, or consolidation of service providers.
For more information about the FCC Form 498 and the FCC Forms 499-A/Q, visit the Service Provider section of the USAC website.