October 2, 2015
TIP OF THE WEEK: The deadline for most applicants and service providers to invoice USAC for FY2014 recurring services is October 28, 2015. If this is your deadline, you must submit your final invoices or your invoice deadline extension request on or before October 28.
Commitments for Funding Years 2015 and 2014
Funding Year 2015. USAC will release Funding Year (FY) 2015 Wave 20 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) on October 8. This wave includes commitments for approved requests for all service types and at all discount levels. As of October 2, FY2015 commitments total over $2.24 billion.
NOTE: The release date for FY2015 Wave 19 was reported as October 2 in last week’s SL News Brief. The wave was actually issued on October 1.
Funding Year 2014. USAC will release Wave 67 FCDLs on October 6. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 1 (Telecommunications Services and Internet Access) requests at all discount levels. As of October 2, FY2014 commitments total over $2.27 billion.
On the day the FCDLs are mailed, you can check to see if you have a commitment by using USAC's Automated Search of Commitments tool.
An entity number is a unique identifying number assigned by USAC to each entity that (1) is eligible to receive discounts under the E-rate program and/or (2) files program forms.
An eligible entity can be an individual school, a library outlet/branch, a school district, a library system, or a non-instructional facility (NIF) such as an administrative office. Entity numbers for eligible entities can appear in the Basic Information section of a program form and/or in an allocation in the Funding Request section of an FCC Form 471 worksheet that lists the recipients of service for a funding request.
Some entities may need billed entity numbers to file program forms even though those entity numbers will not be featured on discount calculations. Here are some examples:
A state procurement agency that files an FCC Form 470 to open a competitive bidding process.
A city or town that controls the budget of a library and pays the bills for the library.
A consortium leader that is not itself eligible for discounts but applies on behalf of its consortium members.
If you have been using one entity number for both your school district administrative building and also to represent your school district as a whole, you should have separate entity numbers for FY2016.
One entity number would represent your school district. It would appear in the Basic Information section of program forms. This would also be the "parent" entity number for your school district, the entity number a library system would associate with its main branch order to calculate the library system's discount, and the entity number entered in a consortium application if the school district is a member of the consortium.
The second entity number would represent the school district administration building. In your entity profile, this entity number would most likely be designated a NIF, and would show up in the Discount Calculation section of the FCC Form 471 if you were applying for Category One services for the NIF.
Similarly, if you have been using one entity number for both your library system administrative building and also to represent your library system as a whole, you should have separate entity numbers for FY2016.
One entity number would represent your library system. It would appear in the Basic Information section of program forms. This would also be the "parent" entity number for your library system and the entity number entered in a consortium application if the library system is a member of the consortium.
The second entity number would represent the library system administration building. In your entity profile, this entity number would most likely be designated a NIF, and would show up in the Discount Calculation section of the FCC Form 471 if you were applying for Category One services for the NIF.
Billed Entity Numbers (BENs)
If an entity pays a service provider for products and/or services delivered to eligible schools and/or libraries, that entity is called a billed entity. USAC assigns that entity a Billed Entity Number or BEN. There is no visible difference between a number assigned as a BEN and a number assigned as an entity number, and the terms "entity number" and "BEN" are now generally used interchangeably.
A billed entity is not required to be – but may be – an eligible entity. For example, an ineligible entity such as town or city government may be assigned a BEN if it pays the bills to service providers for eligible services on behalf of eligible entities.
Locating an entity number
If you are logged in to your account in the E-rate Productivity Center, you can search for entity information by clicking the "Records" tab and then the "Applicant Entities" entry on the resulting list. In the "Search Applicant Entities" search field in the upper left hand corner of the Applicant Entity web page, type all or part of an entity name or entity number and hit "Enter." You can limit your search by choosing an Organization Status and/or Entity Type from the list below the search field.
You can also search for BEN information from the Search Tools web page on the USAC website. You can limit your search by entity type (school district, school, library, or all types), and then search by one of the following:
Your search may return a single entity or a list of entities. For specific information about an entity, click the Billed Entity Number in the search results.
Note, however, that the Search for BEN Information may not contain information on some entities created in EPC that will first appear on FY2016 applications.
Requesting an entity number
To request an entity number, contact our Client Service Bureau (CSB) either by creating a Customer Service Case in EPC, through Submit a Question (choose "Entity Number" from the Topic Inquiry list and then "I need an entity number for a new entity") or by calling (888) 203-8100.
CSB needs specific information to create a new entity. For assistance in preparing your request for an entity number or for more information about entity numbers, refer to the Entity Numbers web page on the USAC website. Note that CSB may need some information in addition to the list provided on the USAC website to complete the entity's profile in EPC.
Correcting the information on an entity number
Some entity information can be corrected through EPC. For an existing entity, you can log in to your account in EPC and update the appropriate entity fields. CSB can then review your changes and let you know whether they have been approved or CSB needs more information.
Please note that, when CSB approves a change to an entry in the database, any future forms you file will reflect the new information. You will not see a change in forms that you have already filed.