Schools and Libraries (E-Rate)

FY2016 Window Closes at 11:59:59 PM EDT April 29
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2/12/2016News Brief Issued


The 02/12/2016 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.

2/5/2016Webinar Registration Open! FCC Form 471 Walkthrough and E-rate Program Overview


Join USAC for a series of webinars about the FY2016 filing window, including an overview of the E-rate Program and a detailed walkthrough of how to complete a funding request (FCC Form 471) online in the E-rate Productivity Center.

View Events and Register: All Upcoming Webinar Events
Overview series begins February 16; FCC Form 471 series begins February 23

Can't make it to the webinars? Register anyway, and we’ll send you a link to the recording after the live presentation. The recording will also be posted in the Online Learning Library.

 

2/4/2016E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Outage Due to System Maintenance: Sunday, February 7


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) and the EPC Training Site will be unavailable from 7:00-10:00 PM ET, Sunday, February 7 for monthly system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to log in, or to file, certify, and search for certain forms via the EPC. We apologize for any inconvenience.

2/3/2016Special Edition News Brief - Guidance Materials for the FY2016 Application Filing Window


The 02/03/2016 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.

2/1/2016E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Outage Due to System Maintenance: Monday, February 1


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) will be unavailable from 9:00-11:59 PM ET, Monday, February 1 for system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to log in, or to file, certify, and search for certain forms via the EPC. We apologize for any inconvenience.

1/29/2016USAC Phone/Fax System Outage Due to System Upgrade - January 29 to February 1


USAC will be upgrading our phone system beginning at 6:00 PM ET Friday, January 29.  This will impact USAC's Customer Service  via (888) 641-8722, the RHC Help Desk via (800) 453-1546, the USAC main number, individual employee direct lines, and our fax lines.  Calls and faxes to these numbers will not go through and callers will be unable to reach voicemail.  Our phone system will be available again Monday, February 1 at 7:00 AM.  

The Schools and Libraries Client Service Bureau (CSB) will remain open during their normal operating hours.

1/28/2016E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Outage Due to System Maintenance: Thursday, January 28


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) will be unavailable from 9:00-11:00 PM ET, Thursday, January 28 for system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to log in, or to file, certify, and search for certain forms via the EPC. We apologize for any inconvenience.

1/26/2016Special Edition News Brief - Dates of the E-rate Funding Year 2016 Application Filing Window


The 01/25/2016 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.

1/25/2016USAC Will Remain Closed on Monday, January 25 Due to Inclement Weather


Due to inclement weather, USAC will remain closed on Monday, January 25 

This closure includes USAC's Customer Operations and the Rural Health Care Program's RHC Help Desk. The Schools and Libraries Client Service Bureau (CSB) will remain open during their normal operating hours.

1/22/2016USAC Will Close at 12:00 PM ET January 22 Due to Inclement Weather


Due to inclement weather, USAC will close at 12:00 PM ET on Friday, January 22. 

This closure includes USAC's Customer Operations and the Rural Health Care Program's RHC Help Desk. The Schools and Libraries Client Service Bureau (CSB) will remain open during their normal operating hours.

USAC will re-open on Monday, January 25, 2016, with normal business hours and will respond to all inquiries at that time. Thank you!

1/21/2016E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Outage Due to System Maintenance: Thursday, January 21


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) will be unavailable from 7:30-10:30 PM ET, Thursday, January 21, for system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to log in, or to file, certify, and search for certain forms via the EPC. We apologize for any inconvenience.

1/14/2016E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Outage Due to System Maintenance: Thursday, January 14


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) will be unavailable from 11:00 PM, Thursday, January 14 through 1:00 AM ET, Friday, January 15, for system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to log in, or to file, certify, and search for certain forms via the EPC. We apologize for any inconvenience.

1/14/2016Schools and Libraries Client Service Bureau Closed: Monday, January 18


In observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Schools and Libraries Program’s Client Service Bureau (CSB) will be closed on Monday, January 18. CSB will reopen Tuesday, January 19 for regular hours of 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM ET.

1/7/2016Special Edition News Brief - Top Five Questions for the Client Service Bureau


The 01/06/2016 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.

12/31/2015USAC Closed from December 31 at 2:00 PM ET through January 1


In observance of the upcoming holiday, USAC will close at 2:00 PM ET on Thursday, December 31, and remain closed on Friday, January 1, 2016. 

This closure includes the Schools and Libraries Program’s Client Service Bureau (CSB), and the Rural Health Care Program's RHC Help Desk.

USAC will re-open on Monday, January 4, 2016, with normal business hours and will respond to all inquiries at that time. Thank you and happy holidays!

12/21/2015USAC Closed from December 24 at 2:00 PM ET through December 25


In observance of the upcoming holiday, USAC will close at 2:00 PM ET on Thursday, December 24, and remain closed on Friday, December 25, 2015. 

This closure includes the Schools and Libraries Program’s Client Service Bureau (CSB), and the Rural Health Care Program's RHC Help Desk.

USAC will re-open on Monday, December 28, with normal business hours and will respond to all inquiries at that time. Thank you and happy holidays!

12/17/2015FY2016 FCC Form 471 Window Filing Date Information


As most of you know, this is the time of year we typically announce the window application dates for the coming E-rate Funding Year. We certainly understand the need for this advance notice for planning purposes. As we approach the 2016 Funding Year, we are balancing the benefits of setting specific dates with the desire to deliver the best possible experience for applicants in the new EPC environment.

In our fall trainings, I shared that we were targeting mid-January as the window opening. We are still targeting that time frame for the opening, and I can assure you that the window will open no earlier than January 20th and close no earlier than March 31.

We will announce firm dates in early January based on our progress in development and testing during the next few weeks. We have spent time over the last few months gathering valuable input from a representative sample of our applicant community, and we are working hard to integrate as much of this feedback as possible into the first release of the FCC Form 471. Some of those features include hover text, pre-population of certain fields and on-screen help. These are valuable updates, but they are not completed. Our goal is to make sure that the new FCC Form 471 includes as many of these benefits as possible when the window opens. We apologize for the relative lack of specificity at this point, but hope that the clarification above helps all of you plan and resource appropriately.

In the meantime, we strongly encourage you to take all the important steps possible to prepare for the filing of the FCC Form 471, including posting an FCC Form 470 (as the FCC Form 470 has been available since July) and completing your competitive bidding process. We also encourage you to log on to EPC, make sure your profile information is accurate, and post your FCC Form 470 now, so that you will able to focus on the FCC Form 471 once the window opens.

Thanks very much for your help, patience and understanding as we move toward a better process for all of us.

Sincerely,

Mel Blackwell
Vice President, Schools and Libraries

12/17/2015Apply Online and EPC Outages Due to System Maintenance: Friday, December 18


The Schools and Libraries Program's Apply Online page, including Submit a Question, online forms, and most search tools will be unavailable beginning at 8:00 PM ET Friday, December 18 through 2:00 AM ET Saturday, December 19, 2015, for monthly system maintenance. 

The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) will be unavailable from 10:00 PM to midnight ET, Friday, December 18 for system maintenance.

During this time for both systems, users will be unable to log in, or to file, certify, and search for certain forms. We apologize for any inconvenience.

 

12/11/2015E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Outage Due to System Maintenance: Sunday, December 13


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) will be unavailable from 7:30-10:30 PM EST, Sunday, December 13 for monthly system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to log in, or to file, certify, and search for certain forms via the EPC. We apologize for any inconvenience.

12/1/2015FCC Form 498 Now Available in EPC


Starting July 1, 2016, applicants who choose the BEAR payment method from USAC will complete and certify a revised FCC Form 472, Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) Form, to request direct reimbursement of their discount amounts. To prepare for this new payment process, applicants must complete an FCC Form 498, Service Provider and Billed Entity Identification Number and Contact Information Form to provide USAC with their banking account information so that USAC can electronically deposit funds in their account beginning July 1, 2016.

 

Applicants can now access the FCC Form 498 through the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC). Applicants must submit this form, and it must be processed by USAC, before USAC can make direct payments, starting in July 2016. For more information on preparing for the direct BEAR payment process in EPC, read the November 20 issue of the SL News Brief.

  

11/13/2015Webinar Invitation: Introduction to Fiber and Special Construction


Join USAC to learn about the FCC's Second E-rate Modernization Order's rules about funding for fiber and special construction projects.

Register NowIntroduction to Fiber and Special Construction
Thursday, November 19, 2015, 3:00 PM to 4:15 PM EST

Can't make it to the webinar next week? Register anyway, and we'll send you a link to the recording after the live presentation. The recording will also be posted in the Online Learning Library.

Presentation Topics
The presenters will review the benefits and challenges of selecting fiber and special construction to meet your broadband connectivity needs. Topics include:

  • Options for E-rate Program funding
  • Cost of deploying new fiber
  • Old rules vs. new rules
  • Dark fiber vs. lit fiber
  • Special construction projects and self-provisioned fiber networks
  • Making payments: Amortization of upfront capital and installment payments

The presenters will also discuss:

  • Tips for preparing a request for proposal (RFP)
  • Conducting a fair, open competitive bidding process
  • Selecting the most cost-effective bid
  • FCC matches for state or tribal funding

11/13/2015How to Activate your EPC Admin Account


USAC rolled out the first phase of our new IT system known as the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) in June 2015, and is working with applicants to set up their accounts in this new system.

How to Activate Your EPC Account
To log into the account, first locate the Account Creation email (sent from admin@portal.usac.org) or follow the instructions below to activate your account.

Watch the video: Logging into EPC

After you log in, you can designate another person at your organization to be the "account administrator" if you wish to do so.

Watch the video: Modifying Your Account Administrator

If you have questions about setting up your account, contact our Client Service Bureau at (888) 203-8100.

Consultants Cannot be EPC Account Administrators
Consultants cannot be the EPC "account administrator" for an applicant. If a consultant was listed as the "authorized person" on FCC Form 471 (and because of that, received the EPC account activation email), the applicant should contact our Client Service Bureau at (888) 203-8100 to designate an employee of the applicant organization to act as the account administrator.

Then, the applicant's account administrator can grant the consultant rights to access the information in the school's or library's account.

EPC Account Activation Instructions
Follow these instructions to set up your EPC account:

  1. Navigate to the EPC login page and click "I Agree," then, "Reset Your Password."
  2. Enter your email address in the "Username" field and select "Request Password Reset."
  3. The system will send an email to the address associated with your EPC username with a "reset password" link. You must click on the link within 15 minutes from the time you selected "Request Password Reset." If necessary, you can repeat the process.
  4. Log in to the system and accept the EPC Access Agreement Terms and Conditions located under the "Tasks" tab.

Your password must:

  • Have at least eight characters
  • Contain at least one numeral (0 to 9)
  • Contain at least one non-alphabetic character (such as !, $, #, %)
  • Contain at least one uppercase character (A though Z)
  • Contain at least one lowercase character (a through z)
  • Not have been used in the previous four passwords

Need Assistance?
If you have any questions or need information on how to log in to an account or change an account administrator, you can visit the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) page on the USAC website for user guides and video tutorials.

Contact our Client Service Bureau at (888) 203-8100 if you need additional assistance.

11/6/2015FCC Form 470 Search Tool Updates


The Funding Year (FY) 2016 FCC Form 470 Search Tools located on the USAC website have recently been updated. Users can now choose search parameters – such as posting dates, applicant types, service types- and receive search results at the bottom of the web page in HTML or PDF format or export the data as an XLS or CSV file.

View an FCC Form 470 (FY2016) tool

  • This tool searches FY2016 FCC Forms 470 that have been completed and posted by applicants.
  • If you choose the HTML or PDF option, you will see a list of forms at the bottom of the page that fit your search criteria. To view an individual form, click the underlined form number.
  • The results are also available in XLS format.

Download 470 Information (FY2016) tool

  • This tool allows the user to download summary information for service requests filed on the FY2016 version of the FCC Form 470.
  • If you choose the HTML option, you will see summary information on all of the forms that fit your search criteria.
  • The results are also available in XLS and CSV formats.

Note: Some applicants filed FCC Forms 470 intended for FY2016 by using the FY2015 version of the form (before the FY2016 FCC Form 470 was available in EPC). You can view those forms from the Search Tools page on the USAC website. Individual forms are available using the View an FCC Form 470 (2015 and prior) tool and downloads of form information are available from the Download 470 Information (FY2015) tool.

10/23/2015Updates to the Schools and Libraries Website


The Schools and Libraries (E-rate) Program website has recently been updated to reflect E-rate Modernization Order program changes. Along with guidance updates, the main web page has been redesigned to make it easier to find out about program news, announcements, and to link to important program documents.


To navigate to the E-rate Program application process steps, select either Applicant Process or Service Provider Process on the main page (located below the slideshow images). To go to an individual process step, click the arrow to the right of “Applicant Process” or “Service Provider Process” and a dropdown menu will appear. To view the full list of process steps, click the words "Applicant Process" or "Service Provider Process."


The left-hand margin also includes links to additional information about the program and to resources and tools. The Reference Area in the left-hand margin of the website provides an alphabetized list of program topics. Visit the E-rate Program Online Learning Library to view videos and webinars containing step-by-step form filing instruction and program guidance. When you are ready to begin, visit the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) web page for information about setting up your organization in USAC’s new account and application management portal.


10/20/2015Special Edition News Brief - First EPC and FCC Form 470 Release Notes Issued


The 10/20/2015 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.