June 24, 2015

USAC's New IT System Is Coming!

USAC is rolling out the first phase of its new IT system, named E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) and pronounced "epic."

The first phase is a customer portal for applicants, service providers, and consultants. The portal will eventually be the point of entry for all transactions with USAC, and once fully operational will provide a host of new features and better customer service.

For example, the portal will be where applicants complete and certify program forms, obtain the status of their applications, submit requests, receiving timely reminders and notifications, respond to PIA review questions, and ask USAC questions.

We are moving to a portal to improve your customer experience and streamline the application process. Among the advantages you will notice are:

  • All of your forms, submitted documentation, and requests will be in one location online and easily accessible.
  • Users can access the portal from any device (e.g., desktop computer, laptop computer, tablet, smartphone) and any browser.
  • School districts and library systems can update and store address information and other data on their individual schools and libraries. This information can then be uploaded into online forms so that you do not have to re-enter it every year.
  • Consortia and statewide applicants will have a complete list of their members, and service providers and consultants will have a complete list of their clients.
  • Applicants will no longer need a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to certify forms.
  • Account administrators can create as many account users as they wish, and decide which activities the users can perform (i.e., set their permissions or user rights).

We plan to provide a series of Special Edition News Briefs and website information that will provide a full range of details regarding what you will need to do, when you need to do it, and how to do it.

The first step to access the portal will be to log in to your account. USAC will start creating accounts in the next few days and complete the initial rollout by the end of next week. The next Special Edition News Brief will describe the login process, which you can start when your account is created and you receive a notification email from USAC.

Following is some basic high-level information with respect to the portal.

When will EPC be available?

USAC will start rolling out EPC to program participants in the next few days, and complete the initial rollout by the end of next week.

How will I find EPC?

There will be a link to EPC on the Schools and Libraries main web page. There will also be an information page containing links to short instructional videos, a glossary of new terms, printable information, and other guidance on how to use EPC.

Will I have an account in EPC?

USAC is setting up accounts for billed entities based on the information from FCC Forms 471 filed for FY2015. In general, the authorized person on an FCC Form 471 will be set up as the account administrator for the billed entity. Account administrators will then be able to set up accounts for additional users within their organization.

USAC will create these accounts for independent schools, independent libraries, school districts, and library systems. There will also be accounts for consultants, consortia and statewide applicants, and service providers.

Specific guidance on how to log in, create additional users, and update entity information will be provided in future Special Edition News Briefs.

What will I be able to do in EPC?

In this first phase, account administrators can do the following:

  • Create other users and set their permissions (full rights, partial rights, or view-only rights)
  • Update their entity information (school districts, library systems, independent schools, independent libraries)
  • Ask a question or submit a request, such as filing an appeal or requesting a service substitution.

As accounts for other users within an organization are created, those users will be able to perform functions based upon their rights, and ask questions or submit requests. As we continue to add functionality, account users will have additional capabilities, such as submitting and certifying program forms, storing documents, and receiving and archiving notifications and other communications from USAC.

Can I still use Submit a Question?

Submit a Question will remain up for the first several weeks of the transition to EPC. After the transition is completed, you will use EPC exclusively to ask questions or submit requests.

For now, you can also continue to use fax, email, and mail options to submit requests. You should review the website guidance for the type of request you want to submit to find out which of these options is available for your specific request.

When will other features be available in EPC?

Over the next 12 months, USAC will be moving all program forms into EPC, starting with the FCC Form 470 for FY2016. Notifications formerly provided by paper letter will also be accessible from your account, starting with the FY2016 FCC Form 470 Receipt Notification Letter.

There will also be periodic updates to provide additional functionality and information specific to you and your entity or entities — funding data, reports, and so on.

Information on EPC and any changes in functionality will be available in a series of Special Edition News Briefs and in the portal itself.

If you have any questions, you can call the Client Service Bureau at (888) 203-8100.

Upcoming EPC topics for Special Edition News Briefs

  • How to log in to EPC.
  • What you should do if you don't receive an email after the initial rollout.


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