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USAC's Latest News Archive gives you access to all announcements related to the universal service programs as they were made throughout the years.

3/20/2019Upcoming Scheduled System Maintenance, March 22 and 29


Upcoming Scheduled System Maintenance, March 22
 
The National Verifier pre-production and production environment will be unavailable due to scheduled system maintenance starting Friday, March 22 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. ET. Additionally, National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) users will not be able to perform verify, enroll, or transfer transactions using NLAD’s National Verifier mode.

During this time, NLAD users will still be able to use the legacy workflow and reports in the production environment.

Upcoming Scheduled System Maintenance, March 29

The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD), National Verifier, and Lifeline Claims System (LCS) will be unavailable due to the March monthly maintenance starting Friday, March 29 from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. ET.

NLAD, National Verifier, and LCS pre-production and production environments will not be available for use during this time.

3/20/2019Responding to FRN Balance Verifications


Each year, USAC undergoes an audit – called an agreed-upon-procedures (AUP) engagement – to examine its operations. As part of this process, the firm performing the audit emails a number of balance verifications ("confirmations") to applicants and service providers to verify that the balances reported by USAC on specific Funding Request Numbers (FRNs) match the balances in the records of the applicants and service providers. Each confirmation features the balance reported by USAC on a specific FRN as of October 31, 2018. 

 

The confirmations are being sent from confirmations@pwc.com. Please check your email and respond promptly if you receive a confirmation.

 

Applicants and service providers should review their records and respond by either:

  • Agreeing with the balance featured on the confirmation or
  • If it is different, noting the balance as of October 31, 2018 on their records and explaining how they determined that balance.

3/20/2019Lifeline Program Newsletter - March 2019


The March 2019 issue of Lifeline Program News is now available. Sign up to receive the newsletter by email in the Subscription Center

March headlines:

  • Coming Soon: Representative Accountability Database (RAD)
  • National Verifier: March Launches
  • National Verifier March 2019 Enhancements are live in the Production Environment
  • Submitting Lifeline Reimbursement Claims in LCS Outside Administrative Window
  • National Verifier Outreach Lists - Sign up for Future Launch Information
  • Webinar on April 10: Overview of the Lifeline Claims System (LCS)

3/20/2019CSB Hours During the Last Week of the Filing Window


While we encourage applicants to complete and certify their FCC Form 471 early, we realize that last-minute questions can arise. We are publishing the extra hours the Client Service Bureau (CSB) will be open during the last week of the window to allow applicants to take advantage of the opportunity to get answers to those last-minute questions.

 

You can contact CSB at (888) 203-8100. CSB's regular hours are 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET. In addition to those times, CSB will be open:

Date CSB Open CSB Close
Saturday, March 23 9:00 AM EDT   5:00 PM EDT
Sunday, March 24 9:00 AM EDT   5:00 PM EDT
Monday, March 25 8:00 AM EDT 10:00 PM EDT
Tuesday, March 26 8:00 AM EDT 10:00 PM EDT
Wednesday, March 27 8:00 AM EDT 12:30 AM EDT (Thursday, March 28)

 

Generally, CSB has the highest call volumes during noon to 4:00 p.m. EDT. If an agent is not able to answer when you call, please open a customer service case in EPC and we will respond as quickly as possible. To open a customer service case in EPC, click the Contact Us link from the upper right menu on your landing page.

3/15/2019News Brief Issued


The 3/15/2019 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.

3/14/2019FCC Announces 2nd Quarter 2019 Contribution Factor Decrease to 18.8 Percent


The FCC released a Public Notice (DA 19-178 ) announcing that the proposed universal service contribution factor for the second quarter, April - June 2019 will be .188 or 18.8 percent. 

3/11/2019E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Outage Due to System Maintenance: March 12


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) will be unavailable Tuesday morning, March 12 from 12:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. EDT for system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to log in to and use EPC. We apologize for any inconvenience.

3/11/2019FY2019 Funding Cap is $593.7M


On Friday, March 8, 2019, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the FY2019 funding cap for the Rural Health Care (RHC) Program is $593,782,000. This new cap represents a 2.2% inflation-adjusted increase in the $581,000,000 cap from FY2018. Read Public Notice DA 17-190 here

3/8/2019News Brief Issued


The 3/8/2019 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.

3/8/2019FCC and USAC Announce March 2019 National Verifier Launch


Indiana, Kentucky, and Michigan Will Soft Launch on March 12

Today the FCC and USAC announced that the Lifeline National Verifier will soft launch in Indiana, Kentucky, and Michigan on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. At that time, service providers in the March 2019 Launch can begin using the National Verifier to determine subscriber eligibility through the service provider portal or by sending paper forms to the Lifeline Support Center.

During the soft launch period, service providers can continue using their legacy eligibility checking procedures if they choose.

Recertification & Reverification

Beginning at soft launch, March 12, service providers in the March 2019 Launch should not start any new 2019 recertification batches for consumers in the above-referenced states. Any recertification batches that are already underway must be completed.

USAC will conduct reverification – a one-time process to ensure that all Lifeline subscribers meet the program’s eligibility requirements – for all subscribers in this launch. USAC will send additional information about the reverification process shortly.

Launch Training and Support

Service providers in the March 2019 Launch can visit the National Verifier Training page for additional information about the soft launch period including a pre-production user guide, instructions to create National Verifier credentials, and information about upcoming training sessions.

Service providers in this launch are encouraged to attend the National Verifier For Newcomers training on Thursday, March 14 at 3 p.m. ET to ask questions about the March soft launch period.

About the National Verifier


The National Verifier shifts the responsibility for determining a consumer's Lifeline eligibility from phone and internet service providers to the program's administrator, the Universal Service Administrative Company. The National Verifier will establish whether a consumer is eligible by electronically querying state and federal data sources, and if necessary, manually reviewing supporting documents. An overview of the National Verifier can be found on USAC's website

3/7/2019Newsletter for March 2019


FY2019 Filing Window Open Now!

The initial filing window period for FY2019 is February 1 – May 31, 2019. This means that you must submit your funding requests (FCC Forms 462 or 466) before 11:59 p.m. ET May 31, 2019 for consideration. Any funding requests submitted after this time will not be considered. We highly encourage you to submit your funding requests as soon as possible.

Prepare to submit your FY2019 Funding Request with these resources:

Submit Eligibility and FY2019 Request for Services Forms Now!

Applicants applying for funding for FY2019 who are going through the competitive bidding process can submit their FCC Forms 460 and 461 (HCF Program) and FCC Form 465 (Telecom Program) now! Prepare to submit your forms with these resources:

Eligibility

Request for Services

 

FCC Form 461 Rollover for FY2019

This year’s rollover functionality is a courtesy extended to HCF applicants who completed the Request for Services or FCC Form 461 process in FY2018 and would like to use the FY2018 approved FCC Form 461 in FY2019. Those requesting the FY2018 FCC Form 461 rollover functionality must meet the following requirements:

  • The FCC Form 461 must have been submitted for FY2018, and previously reviewed and approved by RHC in FY2018.
  • The FY2018 FCC Form 461 and/or competitive bidding process must have complied with the FCC’s competitive bidding rules.

 

Applicants requesting the FCC Form 461 rollover understand that their FY2019 FCC Form 462 may be denied if the FY2018 FCC Form 461 and/or competitive bidding process is found to have been in violation of the competitive bidding rules.

The rollover process will only be applied to the FCC Form 461, not the FCC Form 462. Applicants must still submit a FY2019 FCC Form 462 if they wish to apply for HCF Program funding in FY2019.

How to submit your FCC Form 461 rollover request:

  • Send email to: RHC-Assist@usac.org 
  • Subject line of email: FCC Form 461 Rollover Request App #
  • Include within the email body: HCP #, FCC Form 461 application #
  • Once emailed, the rollover request may take 5-8 business days to review and process.
  • If approved, your request will be confirmed via email from an RHC staff member.

Request for Proposal (RFP) Review

When an RFP accompanies an FCC Form 461 submission, USAC will review the RFP to identify discrepancies and areas of potential non-compliance with competitive bidding requirements and provide applicants with recommendations on how to address areas of concern. The review conducted by USAC does not guarantee that the RFP is fully compliant. It is the sole responsibility of the applicant to ensure that its request for services and any accompanying documentation comply with all RHC Program rules.

Applicants may bypass this review by emailing RHC-Assist@usac.org at the time of FCC Form 461 submission, including the HCP and application number in the subject line and body of the email.

Update on FY2018

RHC has begun issuing decisions on FY2018 funding requests, and will continue to do so on a rolling basis. RHC will communicate any updates via the email addresses the applicant has submitted in My Portal. Due to demand for RHC Program funds, there will not be a second filing window period for FY2018. The RHC Program will not accept additional funding requests (FCC Forms 462 or 466) for FY2018. All qualifying single year funding requests with no upfront costs will be fully funded for FY2018 with no proration. 

 

New! Consortia Resources

HCF Program applicants who may be interested in forming a consortia can download three new resources to help them get started:

New! Account Holder Guidance

USAC recommends having at least one secondary account holder per HCP. We’ve created guides for primary account holders with instructions for adding additional account holders in My Portal:

Watch RHC 102

On February 28, 2019, the RHC Program team held “RHC 102: Participating in the Rural Health Care Program,” a follow up to our beginner’s webinar “RHC 101.” This webinar was for primary account holders preparing to submit forms to meet the FY2019 filing window deadline of May 31 and covered best practices and available resources. Watch the webinar and download the slides here.

What to Do if You Receive an Information Request

FCC Forms submitted with incomplete or missing documentation will not be reviewed, and RHC reviewers will reach out to all account holders (the primary and all secondary and tertiary account holders associated with that HCP) with a request for additional information (“Information Request”). Information Requests are sent to collect any missing documentation, address deficiencies, or to ask clarifying questions about the FCC Form. If you receive an Information Request, you must respond to it within 14 calendar days. Once you respond, the RHC reviewers will work with you, to the extent they can, to ensure that they have all the necessary documentation to complete their review. Failure to respond within the 14 calendar day timeframe will result in an automatic denial, so be sure to meet that deadline.

LOA/TPAs Must Be Up to Date

In order to be considered eligible for funding in FY2019, Letters of Agency (LOA) and Third Party Authorizations (TPA) must be up to date through FY2019, at a minimum. Be especially mindful if you are an HCP using a consultant, if you are a consortium project coordinator, or a consultant filing on behalf of a consortium. Before submitting a form, please check to ensure your authorization documents are up to date. FCC Forms 462 and 466 submitted with expired LOAs or TPAs will result in applicants receiving Information Requests.

For more information about submitting LOAs, please see the submission guide

3/7/2019Watch RHC 102: Participating in the RHC Program Webinar!


On February 28, 2019, the RHC Program team held “RHC 102: Participating in the Rural Health Care Program,” a follow up to our beginner’s webinar “RHC 101.” This webinar was for primary account holders preparing to submit forms to meet the FY2019 filing window deadline of May 31 and covered best practices and available resources. Watch the webinar and download the slides here.

3/7/2019C2 Budget Tool Outage Due to System Maintenance - March 7


The Schools and Libraries (E-rate) Program Category Two (C2) Budget Tool will be unavailable from 6:00-8:00 p.m. ET on Thursday, March 7 for system maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.

3/6/2019E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Outage Due to System Maintenance: March 10-11


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) and the EPC training site will be unavailable from Sunday, March 10 at 7:00 p.m EST through Monday, March 11 at 1:00 a.m. EDT* for monthly system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to log in to and use EPC. We apologize for any inconvenience.

*Daylight saving time goes into effect during this period.

3/1/2019News Brief Issued


The 3/1/2019 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.

3/1/2019Reminder: Upcoming Scheduled Production Maintenance, March 4


The National Verifier production environment will be unavailable due to scheduled system maintenance starting Monday, March 4 from 8 p.m. to midnight ET. Additionally, National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) users will not be able to perform verify, enroll, or transfer transactions using NLAD’s National Verifier mode.

During this time, NLAD users will still be able to use the legacy workflow and reports in the production environment. NLAD and National Verifier pre-production environments will also be available for use during this time.

Please Note: We are implementing updates to the URL settings related to this deployment. If you experience difficulty accessing the National Verifier portal, USAC recommends either clearing your browser’s cache or directly adding “/lifeline” to the end of the URL. (http://checklifeline.org/lifeline)

2/28/2019E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Outage Due to System Maintenance: March 1


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) and the EPC training site will be unavailable from 12:00 a.m.-4:00 a.m. ET on Friday, March 1 for system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to log in to and use EPC. We apologize for any inconvenience.

2/27/2019Online Service Provider Training Series Now Available


Today, we launched fifteen new training modules as part of our online E-rate training series. The series provides an online, self-paced learning option for those program participants who were unable to attend our fall training events or who want a refresher. 

The online training series for service providers is now available in our Online Learning Library. We encourage you to view the offerings in this series and let us know what you think by using the evaluation at the end of each training module.

2/25/2019My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance Friday, March 1


Rural Health Care's My Portal will be unavailable from 7:00 - 9:00 a.m. on Friday, March 1, 2019 due to system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for health care providers or service providers. We apologize for any inconvenience.

2/25/2019Lifeline Program Newsletter - February 2019


The February 2019 issue of Lifeline Program News is now available. Sign up to receive the newsletter by email in the Subscription Center

February headlines:

  • National Verifier Live in Additional States, Territories, and the District of Columbia
  • FCC and USAC Announce National Verifier Full (Hard) Launch Date for Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee
  • 2019 Federal Poverty Guidelines Updated
  • New Enhancements Coming to National Verifier Portal
  • Submitting Lifeline Reimbursement Claims in LCS outside Administrative Window
  • Lifeline Support Center Acceptable Material
  • Reminder: Keep NLAD Up-To-Date
  • Webinar on March 13: NLAD Refresher


2/25/2019Upcoming Scheduled System Maintenance, March 4


The National Verifier production environment will be unavailable due to scheduled system maintenance starting Monday, March 4 from 8 p.m. to midnight ET. Additionally, National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) users will not be able to perform verify, enroll, or transfer transactions using NLAD’s National Verifier mode.

During this time, NLAD users will still be able to use the legacy workflow and reports in the production environment. NLAD and National Verifier pre-production environments will also be available for use during this time.

2/22/2019Need a PIN? Please request it by COB Monday, February 25


Applicants who need a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to file an invoice are strongly encouraged to request their PIN before 8:00 p.m. EST on Monday, February 25. To file a request, complete a PIN request template and attach it to a customer service case in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC). You can also find the template on the PIN guidance page.

 

If you have any questions, you can call the Client Service Bureau (CSB) at 888-203-8100. CSB is open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST Monday through Friday. We will do our best to process any requests received after that time.

 

Remember that, if you have received an invoice deadline extension request, the deadline to file invoices for FY2017 recurring services is 11:59 p.m. EST on Tuesday, February 26.

2/22/2019News Brief Issued


The 2/22/2019 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.

2/21/2019Reminder: NLAD Security Update, March 7


Beginning Thursday, March 7, 2019, NLAD will no longer accept TLS 1.0. From this date forward, NLAD API and web users must use TLS 1.1 or 1.2. Service providers will receive an error when attempting to perform transactions in NLAD if they do not make the change by March 7.

2/19/2019Reminder: Upcoming Scheduled System Maintenance


Reminder: Upcoming Scheduled Pre-Production Maintenance, February 20

The National Verifier pre-production environment will be unavailable due to scheduled system maintenance starting Wednesday, February 20 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET. Additionally, National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) users will not be able to perform verify, enroll, or transfer transactions using NLAD’s National Verifier mode.

During this time, NLAD users will still be able to use the legacy workflow and reports in the pre-production environment. NLAD and National Verifier production environments will also be available for use.

Reminder: Upcoming Scheduled System Maintenance, February 22

NLAD, National Verifier, and Lifeline Claims System (LCS) will be unavailable due to February's monthly maintenance starting Friday, February 22 from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. ET.

NLAD, National Verifier, and LCS pre-production and production environments will not be available for use during this time.

2/15/2019News Brief Issued


The 2/15/2019 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.

2/15/2019Upcoming Scheduled System Maintenance


The National Verifier pre-production environment will be unavailable due to scheduled system maintenance starting Wednesday, February 20 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET. Additionally, National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) users will not be able to perform verify, enroll, or transfer transactions using NLAD’s National Verifier mode.

During this time, NLAD users will still be able to use the legacy workflow and reports in the pre-production environment. NLAD and National Verifier production environments will also be available for use during this time.

2/14/2019Register Today: Feb. 19 Data Office Hour Webinar


Registration is now open for the upcoming E-rate office hour webinar on February 19, 2019.

 

Date and Time Topic Level

Prerequisite Module

Tuesday, February 19 at 3:00 p.m. EST Data All levels Data (11:43 min.)

 

Check the Webinars page for our current schedule. More events will be added soon.

2/13/2019Legacy System Outage Due to System Maintenance - February 13


The Schools and Libraries (E-rate) Program legacy systems will be unavailable from 6:00-8:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, February 13 for system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to file invoices and use some of the search tools. The BEAR training site will also be unavailable. We apologize for any inconvenience.

 

NOTE: The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) will not be affected by this maintenance.

2/8/2019News Brief Issued


The 2/8/2019 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.

2/7/2019Newsletter for February 2019


FY2019 Filing Window Open Now!

The initial filing window period for FY2019 is February 1 – May 31, 2019. This means that you must submit your funding requests (FCC Forms 462 or 466) before 11:59 p.m. ET May 31, 2019 for consideration. Any funding requests submitted after this time will not be considered. We highly encourage you to submit your funding requests as soon as possible.

Prepare to submit your FY2019 Funding Request with these resources:

Submit Eligibility and FY2019 Request for Services Forms Now!

Applicants applying for funding for FY2019 who are going through the competitive bidding process can submit their FCC Forms 460 and 461 (HCF Program) and FCC Form 465 (Telecom Program) now! Prepare to submit your forms with these resources:

Eligibility

Request for Services

FCC Form 461 Rollover for FY2019

This year’s rollover functionality is a courtesy extended to HCF applicants who completed the Request for Services or FCC Form 461 process in FY2018 and would like to use the FY2018 approved FCC Form 461 in FY2019. Those requesting the FY2018 FCC Form 461 rollover functionality must meet the following requirements:

  • The FCC Form 461 must have been submitted for FY2018, and previously reviewed and approved by RHC in FY2018.
  • The FY2018 FCC Form 461 and/or competitive bidding process must have complied with the FCC’s competitive bidding rules.

Applicants requesting the FCC Form 461 rollover understand that their FY2019 FCC Form 462 may be denied if the FY2018 FCC Form 461 and/or competitive bidding process is found to have been in violation of the competitive bidding rules.

The rollover process will only be applied to the FCC Form 461, not the FCC Form 462. Applicants must still submit a FY2019 FCC Form 462 if they wish to apply for HCF Program funding in FY2019.

How to submit your FCC Form 461 rollover request:

  • Send email to: RHC-Assist@usac.org 
  • Subject line of email: FCC Form 461 Rollover Request App #
  • Include within the email body: HCP #, FCC Form 461 application #
  • Once emailed, the rollover request may take 5-8 business days to review and process.
  • If approved, your request will be confirmed via email from an RHC staff member.
 
 

FY2018 and FY2017 Information

Update on FY2018

RHC has begun issuing decisions on FY2018 funding requests, and will continue to do so on a rolling basis. RHC will communicate any updates via the email addresses the applicant has submitted in My Portal. Due to demand for RHC Program funds, there will not be a second filing window period for FY2018. The RHC Program will not accept additional funding requests (FCC Forms 462 or 466) for FY2018. All qualifying single year funding requests with no upfront costs will be fully funded for FY2018 with no proration. 

 
 

Important Reminders

Register for RHC 102 - Wednesday, February 20 at 2:00 p.m. ET

Are you or a colleague interested in learning more about the RHC Program application process? On February 20, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. ET, we will be hosting a webinar called “RHC 102: Participating in the RHC Program.” This webinar will cover the best practices for submitting forms and tips for the FY2019 filing window. Register today! You can watch the pre-cursor, “RHC 101: An Introduction to the Rural Health Care Program” webinar here. 

What to Do if You Receive an Information Request

FCC Forms submitted with incomplete or missing documentation will not be reviewed, and RHC reviewers will reach out to all account holders (the primary and all secondary and tertiary account holders associated with that HCP) with a request for additional information (“Information Request”). Information Requests are sent to collect any missing documentation, address deficiencies, or to ask clarifying questions about the FCC Form. If you receive an Information Request, you must respond to it within 14 calendar days. Once you respond, the RHC reviewers will work with you, to the extent they can, to ensure that they have all the necessary documentation to complete their review. Failure to respond within the 14 calendar day timeframe will result in an automatic denial, so be sure to meet that deadline.

LOA/TPAs Must Be Up to Date

In order to be considered eligible for funding in FY2019, Letters of Agency (LOA) and Third Party Authorizations (TPA) must be up to date through FY2019, at a minimum. Be especially mindful if you are an HCP using a consultant, if you are a consortium project coordinator, or a consultant filing on behalf of a consortium. Before submitting a form, please check to ensure your authorization documents are up to date. FCC Forms 462 and 466 submitted with expired LOAs or TPAs will result in applicants receiving Information Requests.


2/7/2019Rescheduled: Upcoming System Maintenance


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) and National Verifier production environments will be unavailable for use due to scheduled system maintenance starting Wednesday, February 13 from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. ET. This outage was previously scheduled for January 31. 

NLAD and National Verifier pre-production environments will be available for use during this time. There will no longer be a pre-production outage.



2/6/2019E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Outage Due to System Maintenance: February 10-11


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) and the EPC training site will be unavailable from Sunday, February 10 at 7:00 p.m ET through Monday, February 11 at 1:00 a.m. ET for monthly system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to log in to and use EPC. We apologize for any inconvenience.

2/5/2019FCC and USAC Announce Upcoming Launch Dates


The FCC and USAC announced upcoming launch dates for the Lifeline National Verifier in Public Notice DA-19.43.

Upcoming Launch Dates:

  • February Soft Launch (February 6, 2019)
  • March Full (Hard) Launch (March 5, 2019) for states soft launched on December 4, 2018

February Soft Launch

The Lifeline National Verifier will soft launch in the following states, territories, and the District of Columbia on Wednesday, February 6.

  • Alaska
  • American Samoa
  • District of Columbia
  • Delaware
  • Maine
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • Rhode Island
  • U.S. Virgin Island

During the soft launch, service providers in the February Launch can begin using the National Verifier to determine subscriber eligibility through the service provider portal at www.CheckLifeline.org/SPportal or by sending paper forms to the Lifeline Support Center. Service providers can continue using their legacy eligibility checking procedures during this time.

March 2019 Full (Hard) Launch for States Soft Launched December 4, 2018

The FCC and USAC also announced that the Lifeline National Verifier will fully (hard) launch in the December 2018 Launch states: Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee on Tuesday, March 5, 2019. At that time, service providers in those four states must check all Lifeline applicants’ eligibility through the National Verifier.

At the full (hard) launch, consumers who wish to apply for Lifeline directly through the National Verifier can use the consumer portal or submit a paper application directly to the Lifeline Support Center.

Visit the December 2018 Launch page and February 2019 Launch page for more information specific to these launches.

2/5/20192019 Federal Poverty Guidelines Updated


The 2019 Federal Poverty Guidelines were released by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) on January 11. Consumers qualify for Lifeline if their gross annual household income is 135% or less than the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Both the National Verifier web portal application and paper application are updated to reflect 135% of the 2019 guidelines.

Service providers have 30 days from today, Tuesday, February 5, 2019, to update their forms and systems. Service providers that have state-issued forms should follow their state's guidance.

2/5/2019Rescheduled: Advanced Eligible Services Webinar


Our upcoming E-rate Office Hour Webinar on Advanced Eligible Services is rescheduled for February 14, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. ET. The Webinars page will be edited soon to reflect the updated webinar schedule.  We apologize for any inconvenience.

 

Please note that today's beginner level webinar will take place as scheduled.

 

February 5, 2019

Date and Time Topic Level Module
Tuesday, February 5 at 2:00 p.m. ET Eligible Services for Beginners Beginner Eligible Services

 

February 14, 2019 (NEW DATE)

Date and Time Topic Level Module
Tuesday, February 14 at 2:00 p.m. ET Advanced Eligible Services Advanced

Advanced Eligible Services

2/1/2019News Brief Issued


The 2/1/2019 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.

2/1/2019E-rate Office Hours - Register Today


Registration is now open for upcoming E-rate office hour webinars. Check the Webinars page for our current schedule. More events will be added soon.

Here is how the process will work:

  • During the FY2019 application filing window, USAC will conduct a series of office hour webinars which will focus on specific E-rate topics covered in our online E-rate Program Training Series.
     
  • Each webinar will include the topic, the date and time, the recommended audience, the E-rate experience level (beginner, advanced, general) and the specific training module(s) that attendees should review in advance of the webinar. Note that we may hold more than one webinar on the same day.
  • If you are interested in attending, register for the webinar and watch the training module(s).
  • When the webinar starts, we will provide instructions on how to ask questions, go over a short summary of the module(s) you should have reviewed, and then open the floor for questions.
  • Attendees will use the webinar's chat function to ask questions. We will identify questions of general interest that come in through the chat function and read and respond to them verbally, and also answer more specific questions individually using the chat function. As with our regular webinars, we will give preference to questions about the topic under discussion.

 

February 5, 2019

Date and Time Topic Level Module
Tuesday, February 5 at 2:00 p.m. EST Eligible Services for Beginners Beginner  Eligible Services
Tuesday, February 5 at 3:00 p.m. EST Advanced Eligible Services  Advanced

 Advanced Eligible Services

 

February 6, 2019

Date and Time Topic Level Module
Wednesday, February 6 at 2:00 p.m. EST Starting Funding Year (FY) 2019 Beginner  Starting FY2019
Wednesday, February 6 at 3:00 p.m. EST Competitive Bidding for Beginners  Beginner  Competitive Bidding

2/1/2019FY2019 Filing Window Open Now!


The initial filing window period for FY2019 is February 1 – May 31, 2019. This means that you must submit your funding requests (FCC Forms 462 or 466) before 11:59 p.m. ET May 31, 2019 for consideration. Any funding requests submitted after this time will not be considered. We highly encourage you to submit your funding requests as soon as possible.

Prepare to submit your FY2019 Funding Request with these resources:

=         January 2019 Funding Request Best Practices Webinar and slides

=         Funding Request Summary

=         FY2019 Recommended Submission Dates

=         Information for FY2018 and FY2019 Applicants

=         Urban and Rural Rate Guide

1/29/2019Canceled: Upcoming Scheduled System Maintenance


The outages impacting National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) and National Verifier scheduled for January 30 and January 31 have been canceled. NLAD and National Verifier pre-production and production environments will be available during these times.

This maintenance will be rescheduled and USAC will notify service providers of the updated dates.




1/28/2019Reminder: Upcoming Scheduled System Maintenance


Extended: Scheduled Production Maintenance Thursday, January 31

The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) and National Verifier production maintenance will require additional time. NLAD and National Verifier production environments will now be unavailable due to scheduled system maintenance starting Thursday, January 31 from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. ET.

NLAD and National Verifier pre-production environments will be available for use during this time.

Reminder: Scheduled Pre-Production Maintenance Wednesday, January 30

NLAD and National Verifier pre-production environments will be unavailable due to scheduled system maintenance starting Wednesday, January 30 from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. ET.

NLAD and National Verifier production environments will be available for use during this time.

1/28/2019Lifeline Program Newsletter - January 2019


The January 2019 issue of Lifeline Program News is now available. Sign up to receive the newsletter by email in the Subscription Center

January headlines:

  • National Verifier Second Full Launch
  • National Verifier Outreach Lists
  • FCC Resumes Operations
  • New Features Introduced to Companies Near Me Tool
  • FCC Form 555 due January 31, 2019
  • 2019 Federal Poverty Guidelines Published
  • Common Audit Finding
  • Webinar on February 13: Common Audit Findings

1/28/2019E-rate Office Hours


During the FY2019 application filing window, USAC will conduct a series of office hour webinars which will focus on specific E-rate topics covered in our online E-rate Program Training Series.

 

Here is how the process will work:

  • We will post a list of the office hour webinars on the Webinars page on the USAC website soon. Each webinar will include the topic, the date and time, the recommended audience, the E-rate experience level (beginner, advanced, general) and the specific training module(s) that attendees should review in advance of the webinar. Note that we may hold more than one webinar on the same day.
  • If you are interested in attending, register for the webinar and watch the training module(s).
  • When the webinar starts, we will provide instructions on how to ask questions, go over a short summary of the module(s) you should have reviewed, and then open the floor for questions.
  • Attendees will use the webinar's chat function to ask questions. We will identify questions of general interest that come in through the chat function and read and respond to them verbally, and also answer more specific questions individually using the chat function. As with our regular webinars, we will give preference to questions about the topic under discussion.

     

Because the first office hour webinars will be held this week, we are providing the details below. Remember to register using the appropriate link on the Webinars page once the full schedule is posted.

 

Date and Time Topic Level Module
Thursday, January 31 at 2:00 p.m. EST Basic Program Concepts Beginner Basic Concepts
Thursday, January 31 at 3:00 p.m. EST Advanced Competitive Bidding Advanced Competitive Bidding

1/27/2019RESOLVED: Lifeline Support Center Live Telephone Support Outage


Update 4:55 PM ET: USAC has resolved the telephone issues with the Lifeline Support Center. All support features are now available for consumers and service providers.

________________________________________________________________________________

The Lifeline Support Center is experiencing a system outage that prevents customer service agents from providing live telephone support. National Verifier processes, including manual review of Lifeline applications, are not affected.


Consumers can still access the features of the Lifeline IVR. Consumers and service providers who need Lifeline support during the outage should email LifelineSupport@usac.org.


USAC is working to restore live agent support to the Lifeline Support Center. We apologize for the inconvenience.

1/25/2019News Brief Issued


The 1/25/2019 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.

1/25/2019Reminder: FCC Form 555 due January 31, 2019


FCC Form 555 (Annual Lifeline ETC Certification Form) is due Thursday, January 31, 2019 to USAC, state regulatory commissions, and the FCC. All Lifeline service providers are required to file one FCC Form 555 per study area code (SAC).

The form must be completed and submitted using USAC's E-File system (USAC recommends using E-File in Chrome, Firefox, or Internet Explorer 10). Bulk upload and single-form entry options are both available.

Available FCC Form 555 resources include:
  • The FCC Form 555 instructions, including how service providers in National Verifier states must complete the form, and bulk upload template are on the Lifeline Program Forms page
  • The December FCC Form 555 webinar, which includes a walk-through of the form
  • How to account for subscribers covered under hurricane relief orders
  • E-File login help: email us at customersupport@usac.org
  • Additional help: email us at Form555@usac.org  

1/25/2019NLAD Security Update: March 2019


NLAD is upgrading its security settings. Beginning Thursday, March 7, 2019, NLAD will no longer accept TLS 1.0.

From March 7 onward, NLAD API and web users must use TLS 1.1 or 1.2. Service providers will receive an error when attempting to perform transactions in NLAD if they do not make the change by March 7.

1/24/2019Schedule Adjustment: Pre-Production Maintenance on January 30


There will be no outage on Monday, January 28. The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) and National Verifier pre-production maintenance has changed from Monday to Wednesday, January 30 from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. ET.

NLAD and National Verifier pre-production environments will be unavailable during this time. NLAD and National Verifier production environments will be available for use during this time.

1/22/2019Extensions for Participants Affected by California Wildfires


On January 3, 2019, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released an order (DA 19-15) that waives specific E-rate Program deadlines that occurred on or after October 8, 2017 for schools and libraries located in the areas affected by the Northern California wildfires that occurred in October 2017. The fires caused power outages and damage to communications services, affecting the participation of schools and libraries in the E-rate Program.

 

Program participants in the affected area have until April 3, 2019 to submit the following filings to USAC:

  • Requests for review or waiver of decisions by USAC, directed to USAC or the FCC.
  • FCC Form 486 (Receipt of Service Confirmation and Children’s Internet Protection Act Certification (CIPA) Form).
  • FCC Form 472 (Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) Form) and FCC Form 474 (Service Provider Invoice Form). *By waiving the invoicing deadline, the FCC also extended the deadline to submit a Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN) change request.

 

Next Steps for Affected Entities

To take advantage of the deadline extensions referenced in the Order you must notify USAC that an extension is needed.

 

The first step is to open a customer service case in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC).

 

At the beginning of the case nickname, enter the code "DA 19-15" to assist us in locating and responding to your questions or request.

 

The following information should be included in your customer service case: Funding Request Number(s) (FRNs), Billed Entity Number (BEN), Billed Entity name, the type of request you are seeking (i.e., invoice deadline extension) and a description of the request.

 

USAC will process these customer service cases to ensure the relevant filing deadline is extended.

 

If you have questions about the waiver or next steps you can submit a customer service case or contact the Client Services Bureau (CSB) at 1-888-203-8100.

1/22/2019Webinar: How to File in the HUBB Portal


Join us January 31, 2019 at 3:30PM ET for a webinar “Filing in the HUBB Portal”. Carriers participating in modernized Connect America Fund (CAF) programs must file broadband deployment data with USAC's HUBB (High Cost Universal Broadband) portal showing where they are building out mass-market, high-speed Internet service by March 1, 2019.

1/18/2019News Brief Issued - Corrected


The 1/18/2019 issue of the News Brief is now available. NOTE: The FCC form numbers have been corrected to reflect the accurate form count in the Funding Year (FY) 2019 Window Countdown section.

 

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.

1/18/2019Watch the Funding Request Best Practices Webinar Now!


On January 16, the RHC Program team hosted a Funding Request Best Practices webinar. This webinar covered how to submit the FCC Forms 462 and 466 in My Portal as well as some helpful tips for FY2019. Watch the webinar and download the slides here!

1/17/2019HUBB Outage Due to System Maintenance


Monthly systems maintenance will occur between Friday, January 18 at 6PM and Saturday, January 19 at 10AM. During this time, the HUBB portal will be unavailable.

1/17/2019January 2019 Contributor Invoice Summary Now Available Online


The January 2019 invoice summary for contributors is now online and available for filers to view in E-File. Watch this quick video to learn how to access your online invoice summary

1/16/2019Upcoming System Maintenance, January 18


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD), National Verifier, and Lifeline Claims System (LCS) will be unavailable due to January's monthly maintenance starting Friday, January 18 from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. ET.

NLAD, National Verifier, and LCS pre-production and production environments will not be available for use during this time.

1/16/2019HUBB Resources Page Updated for 2019


The HUBB Resources page has been updated to reflect requirements for the filing due 3/1/2019.

1/15/2019My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance Tuesday, January 22


Rural Health Care's My Portal will be unavailable from 7:00 - 7:30 a.m. on tuesday, January 22, 2019 due to system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for health care providers or service providers. We apologize for any inconvenience.

1/15/2019Legacy System Outage Due to System Maintenance - January 15


The Schools and Libraries (E-rate) Program legacy systems will be unavailable from 6:00-8:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, January 15 for system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to file invoices and use some of the search tools. The BEAR training site will also be unavailable. We apologize for any inconvenience.

 

NOTE: The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) will not be affected by this maintenance.

1/15/2019National Verifier Hard Launches in Second Launch States and Territory


Today, Tuesday, January 15, the Lifeline National Eligibility Verifier (National Verifier) hard launched in Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Service providers in these states and territory must use the National Verifier to check the eligibility of all Lifeline applicants before enrolling them in the program. Consumers in these states and territory can apply for Lifeline directly through the National Verifier online consumer portal at www.CheckLifeline.org or by mailing a paper application to the Lifeline Support Center.

The full launch of the National Verifier in these states and territory is an important step towards improving the Lifeline consumer experience and program integrity. USAC is working diligently with states, territories, federal and tribal partners to bring more consumers into the National Verifier.

To learn more about Lifeline and the National Verifier, visit USAC's National Verifier page. 

1/11/2019News Brief Issued


The 1/11/2019 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.

1/11/2019January Scheduled System Maintenance


January Scheduled System Maintenance

The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD), National Verifier, and Lifeline Claims System (LCS) will be unavailable due to January's monthly maintenance starting Friday, January 18 from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. ET.

NLAD, National Verifier, and LCS pre-production and production environments will not be available for use during this time.

The 2019 monthly maintenance schedule is now available on the NLAD Maintenance Schedule page.

Scheduled System Maintenance Monday, January 28

NLAD and National Verifier pre-production environments will be unavailable due to scheduled system maintenance starting Monday, January 28 from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. ET.

NLAD and National Verifier production environments will be available for use during this time.

Scheduled System Maintenance Thursday, January 31

NLAD and National Verifier production environments will be unavailable due to scheduled system maintenance starting Thursday, January 31 from 9 p.m. until 12 a.m. ET.

NLAD and National Verifier pre-production environments will be available for use during this time.

1/11/2019E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Outage Due to System Maintenance: January 14-15


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) and the EPC training site will be unavailable from Monday, January 14 at 8:00 p.m ET through Tuesday, January 15 at 1:00 a.m. ET for system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to log in to and use EPC. We apologize for any inconvenience.

1/9/2019E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Outage Due to System Maintenance: January 13-14


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) and the EPC training site will be unavailable from Sunday, January 13 at 7:00 p.m ET through Monday, January 14 at 1:00 a.m. ET for monthly system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to log in to and use EPC. We apologize for any inconvenience.

1/8/2019New Webinar! FCC Form 499-Q Basics


Register here for the January 15, 2019 webinar designed to walk 499 filers through the basics of filling out an FCC Form 499-Q.

This is a new training class for 2019, lead by a senior USAC contributions analyst.   The next quarterly filing is due on February 1, 2019.  If you are a new 499 ID holder, this training is a great opportunity to learn about this FCC Form.

1/8/2019National Verifier System Maintenance, January 13


Users may be unable to complete applications in the National Verifier pre-production and production environments on Sunday, January 13 at 8 p.m. ET due to a system restart. This potential service disruption is expected to last no longer than 15 to 30 minutes. 

After the 30 minute window, users should be able to access National Verifier functionalities as normal.

1/7/2019USAC Is Open for Business As Usual; All Deadlines Remain in Effect


During the government shutdown, USAC will remain open for business as usual and all universal service deadlines remain in effect. Disbursements will continue to be issued by USAC. USAC events such as conference calls and webinars will take place as scheduled.

1/4/2019News Brief Issued


The 1/4/2019 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.

1/3/2019Newsletter for January 2019


FY2019 Filing Window Opens February 1, 2019

The initial filing window period for FY2019 is February 1 – May 31, 2019. This means that you must submit your funding requests (FCC Forms 462 or 466) between February 1 and 11:59 p.m. ET May 31, 2019 for funding consideration. We highly encourage you to submit your funding requests as early as possible in the filing window period. You can begin the application process and submit all other application forms for FY2019 (FCC Forms 460, 461, or 465) before February 1.

If the total amount of qualifying funding requests received during the initial filing window period for FY2019 does not exceed available RHC Program funding, we will determine if there will be additional filing windows.

Prepare to submit your funding request by attending the Funding Request Best Practices Webinar! This webinar will go through both the FCC Form 462 and 466 in My Portal and cover important tips for submitting a compliant funding request by the initial filing window close on May 31, 2019. Register here

Submit FY2019 Request for Services Forms Now!

Applicants applying for funding for FY2019 who are going through the competitive bidding process can submit their FCC Form 461 (HCF Program) and FCC Form 465 (Telecom Program) now! The first day to submit these forms was January 1, 2019-- six months before the start of the funding year, which begins July 1, 2019.

Prepare to submit your Request for Services Form with the following resources:

 

FCC Form 461 Rollover for FY2019

This year’s rollover functionality is a courtesy extended to HCF applicants who completed the Request for Services or FCC Form 461 process in FY2018 and would like to use the FY2018 approved FCC Form 461 in FY2019. Those requesting the FY2018 FCC Form 461 rollover functionality must meet the following requirements:

  • The FCC Form 461 must have been submitted for FY2018, and previously reviewed and approved by RHC in FY2018.
  • The FY2018 FCC Form 461 and/or competitive bidding process must have complied with the FCC’s competitive bidding rules.

Applicants requesting the FCC Form 461 rollover understand that their FY2019 FCC Form 462 may be denied if the FY2018 FCC Form 461 and/or competitive bidding process is found to have been in violation of the competitive bidding rules.

The rollover process will only be applied to the FCC Form 461, not the FCC Form 462. Applicants must still submit a FY2019 FCC Form 462 if they wish to apply for HCF Program funding in FY2019.

How to submit your FCC Form 461 rollover request:

  • Send email to: RHC-Assist@usac.org 
  • Subject line of email: FCC Form 461 Rollover Request App #
  • Include within the email body: HCP #, FCC Form 461 application #
  • Once emailed, the rollover request may take 5-8 business days to review and process.

If approved, your request will be confirmed via email from an RHC staff member.

FY2018 and FY2017 Information

 

Update on FY2018

RHC has begun issuing decisions on FY2018 funding requests, and will continue to do so on a rolling basis. RHC will communicate any updates via the email addresses the applicant has submitted in My Portal. Due to demand for RHC Program funds, there will not be a second filing window period for FY2018. The RHC Program will not accept additional funding requests (FCC Forms 462 or 466) for FY2018. All qualifying single year funding requests with no upfront costs will be fully funded for FY2018 with no proration. 

FY2017 FCC Forms

My Portal continues to accept Telecommunications (Telecom) Program FCC Form 467 (Connection Certification Form) and Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program FCC Form 463 (Invoice and Request for Disbursement Form) for applicants approved for funding in FY2017. 

 

Important Reminders

 

Register for RHC 101 - Wednesday, February 20 at 2:00 p.m. ET

Are you or a colleague interested in learning more about the RHC Program? On February 20, 2019, we will be hosting a webinar for beginners called “RHC Program 101: An Introduction to the RHC Program.” This webinar will cover the basics of the program including eligibility requirements and how to get started. Register today!

Watch the RHC Program Eligibility Best Practices Webinar

On November 29, 2018, the RHC Program Team hosted an RHC Program Eligibility webinar. This webinar covered best practices for submitting the first form in the RHC Program process: the FCC Form 460 (HCF Program) and the FCC Form 465 (Telecom Program). If you are a new applicant ready to get started, watch the recording and download the slides here!

What to Do if You Receive an Information Request

FCC Forms submitted with incomplete or missing documentation will not be reviewed, and RHC reviewers will reach out to all account holders (the primary and all secondary and tertiary account holders associated with that HCP) with a request for additional information (“Information Request”). Information Requests are sent to collect any missing documentation, address deficiencies, or to ask clarifying questions about the FCC Form. If you receive an Information Request, you must respond to it within 14 calendar days. Once you respond, the RHC reviewers will work with you, to the extent they can, to ensure that they have all the necessary documentation to complete their review. Failure to respond within the 14 calendar day timeframe will result in an automatic denial, so be sure to meet that deadline.

LOA/TPAs Must Be Up to Date

In order to be considered eligible for funding in FY2018, Letters of Agency (LOA) and Third Party Authorizations (TPA) must be up to date through FY2018, at a minimum. Be especially mindful if you are an HCP using a consultant, a consortium leader, or a consultant filing on behalf of a consortium leader. Before submitting a form, please check to ensure your authorization documents are up to date. FCC Forms 462 and 466 submitted with expired LOAs or TPAs will result in applicants receiving Information Requests.

 

For more information about submitting LOAs, please see the submission guide

1/3/2019Submit FY2019 Request for Services Now!


Applicants applying for funding for FY2019 who are going through the competitive bidding process can submit their FCC Form 461 (HCF Program) and FCC Form 465 (Telecom Program) now! The first day to submit these forms was January 1, 2019-- six months before the start of the funding year, which begins July 1, 2019.

Prepare to submit your Request for Services Form with the following resources:

12/22/2018News Brief Issued


The 12/22/2018 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.

12/21/2018Special Edition News Brief - FY2019 Application Filing Window Opens January 16, 2019


A Special Edition issue of the News Brief (12/21/2018) 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.

12/21/2018Online Applicant Training Series Now Available


Today, we launched the first of a new online training series which provides an online, self-paced learning option for those program participants who were unable to attend our fall training events or who want a refresher. 

The online applicant training series is now available in our Online Learning Library. A service provider training series will be available in 2019. We encourage you to view the offerings in this series and let us know what you think by using the evaluation at the end of each training module.

12/21/2018Lifeline Program Newsletter - December 2018


The December 2018 issue of Lifeline Program News is now available. Sign up to receive the newsletter by email in the Subscription Center.

December headlines:

  • FCC and USAC Announce National Verifier Full Launch Date for Launch 2 States and Territory
  • National Verifier Live in Four Additional States
  • National Verifier Outreach Lists - Sign up for Future Launch Information
  • FCC Form 555 Updates and Reminders
  • 2019 Webinar Schedule Now Available


12/20/2018E-rate Client Service Bureau Closed: December 24-25


In observance of the Christmas holiday, the Schools and Libraries (E-rate) Program’s Client Service Bureau (CSB) will be closed on Monday, December 24, 2018 and Tuesday, December 25, 2018. CSB will reopen Wednesday, December 26, 2018 for the regular hours of 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET.

12/20/2018Legacy System Outage Due to System Maintenance - December 20


The Schools and Libraries (E-rate) Program legacy systems will be unavailable from 6:00-11:00 p.m. ET on Thursday, December 20 for system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to file invoices and use some of the search tools. The BEAR training site will also be unavailable. We apologize for any inconvenience.

 

NOTE: The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) will not be affected by this maintenance.

12/18/2018December 2018 Contributor Invoice Summary Now Available Online


The December 2018 invoice summary for contributors is now online and available for filers to view in E-File. 

Watch this quick video to learn how to access your online invoice summary

12/17/2018Preparing for FY2019 - Webinar Recording Now Available


If you missed the Preparing for Funding Year (FY) 2019 webinar on December 12, 2018, you can use this link to register and watch a recording. This webinar was designed to help applicants and service providers prepare for the Funding Year 2019 application filing window. 

Recommended for: Applicants and service providers

E-rate Experience Level: All levels

12/14/2018Focus on Participant Experience


USAC is continuing its ongoing efforts to better serve E-rate participants by adding extra applicant and service provider support and implementing enhancements to improve the experience for the E-rate community. As the end of the calendar year approaches, while we are committed to addressing as many open participant issues as possible before 2019, we appreciate the E-rate community’s patience and cooperation as we work open cases.

 

Some of these open cases may require a change in reviewers once USAC transitions to its new vendor for E-rate business process operations later this month. All review activities, including program integrity assurance (PIA), appeals, funding commitment waves and payments, will continue during the transition.

 

USAC will reach out to E-rate participants that have active applications, invoices or post-commitment requests, to share additional information about any changes related to the transition to the new vendor. We will continue to share information with affected participants by email, especially if the transition to the new vendor will impact those participants’ open E-rate activities. For example, beginning in January, all open forms and requests (including invoices, appeals and post-commitment requests) will be assigned to new reviewers.

 

USAC is aware that some E-rate participants have open, inactive forms and requests pending with the program. These items will also transition to the new team and participants will receive outreach at a later time.

 

We appreciate the support and cooperation of the E-rate community as we work with our new vendor on these adjustments.

12/14/2018News Brief Issued


The 12/14/2018 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.

12/14/2018FCC Announces 1st Quarter 2019 Contribution Factor Decrease to 20.0 Percent


The FCC released a Public Notice (DA 18-1100   ) announcing that the proposed universal service contribution factor for the first quarter (January - March) of 2019 will be .200 or 20.0 percent

12/14/2018498 ID Status Tool - ISSUE RESOLVED


The 498 Status Tool is now operational.

Visit this webpage to use the 498 Status Tool.


12/13/2018Legacy System Outage Due to System Maintenance - December 13


The Schools and Libraries (E-rate) Program legacy systems will be unavailable from 6:00-9:00 p.m. ET on Thursday, December 13 for system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to file invoices and use some of the search tools. The BEAR training site will also be unavailable. We apologize for any inconvenience.

 

NOTE: The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) will not be affected by this maintenance.

12/13/2018Hard Launch Date for Second Launch States


Today, Thursday, December 13 the FCC and USAC announced that the Lifeline National Eligibility Verifier (National Verifier) will fully launch in the second launch states and territory on Tuesday, January 15, 2019. Beginning on that date, service providers in Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and South Dakota must use the National Verifier to check the eligibility of all Lifeline applicants before enrolling them in the program.

At full launch of the National Verifier, consumers in those five states and one territory who wish to apply for Lifeline directly through the National Verifier can use the consumer portal or submit a paper application directly to the Lifeline Support Center.

To learn more about Lifeline and the National Verifier, visit USAC's National Verifier page. 

12/12/2018Focus on Participant Experience


In 2018, USAC improved the E-rate Program's operational efficiency by refining EPC to process applications more quickly and adjust to large volumes. As we look toward 2019, we will build on those advances with a steady focus on strengthening the E-rate participant experience.

 

We will serve participants better by adding extra applicant and service provider support, transitioning our E-rate business process operations and implementing enhancements to create a better experience for the E-rate community. USAC has expanded our participant support teams to ensure a smooth and orderly transition process with minimal impacts on the E-rate community.

 

E-rate participants with open applications, invoices or post-commitment requests will receive additional information to help guide them through the transition. USAC is working hard to address as many open participant issues as we can before the end of the year, and we appreciate the E-rate community's patience as we analyze and work open cases.

 

Most participants will not notice any changes in their E-rate experience during the transition and will see customer service improvements when it is complete.

12/12/2018E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Outage Due to System Maintenance: December 16-17


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) and the EPC training site will be unavailable from Sunday, December 16 at 7:00 p.m ET through Monday, December 17 at 1:00 a.m. ET for monthly system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to log in to and use EPC. We apologize for any inconvenience.

12/11/2018NLAD December Monthly Maintenance Canceled


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) December maintenance was canceled. Users will be able to access NLAD pre-production and production environments on Friday, December 14 as usual.

12/10/2018My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance Wednesday, December 12


Rural Health Care's My Portal will be unavailable from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, December 12, 2018 due to system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for health care providers or service providers. We apologize for any inconvenience.

12/7/2018News Brief Issued


The 12/7/2018 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.

12/7/2018Newsletter for December 2018


FY2019 Filing Window Dates Announced!

The initial filing window period for FY2019 is February 1 – May 31, 2019. This means that you must submit your funding requests (FCC Forms 462 and/or 466) between February 1 and 11:59 p.m. ET May 31, 2019 for funding consideration. We highly encourage you to submit your funding requests as early as possible in the filing window period. You can begin the application process and submit all other application forms for FY2019 (FCC Forms 460, 461, or 465) before February 1.

If the total amount of qualifying funding requests received during the initial filing window period for FY2019 does not exceed available RHC Program funding, we will determine if there will be additional filing windows.

Update on FY2018

RHC has begun issuing decisions on FY2018 funding requests, and will continue to do so on a rolling basis. RHC will communicate any updates via the email addresses the applicant has submitted in My Portal. Due to demand for RHC Program funds, there will not be a second filing window period for FY2018. The RHC Program will not accept additional funding requests (FCC Forms 462 or 466) for FY2018. All qualifying single year funding requests with no upfront costs will be fully funded for FY2018 with no proration.

My Portal continues to accept Telecom Program FCC Form 467 (Connection Certification Form) and Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program FCC Form 463 (Invoice and Request for Disbursement Form) for applicants approved for funding in FY2017. 

HCF Program Invoicing Deadline Approaching

Please keep in mind that 11:59 p.m. ET December 31, 2018 is the last day to submit the FCC Form 463 to USAC if you had a funding commitment end date of June 30, 2018. Don't know when your HCF Program invoicing deadline is? Use the look-up tool on our website! Download the Invoicing Deadline Spreadsheet.

Watch the latest HCF Program Invoicing Webinar! This webinar covered how to submit the FCC Form 463 for healthcare providers (HCPs) and service providers. Watch the webinar and download the slides here. Watch our step-by-step invoicing guide video series. These videos go over the submission process of the FCC Form 463, and we highly recommend viewing them if you are submitting your FCC Form 463 for the first time or just simply need a refresher in anticipation of an upcoming deadline: Individual HCPs, Consortia.

FCC Form 461 Rollover for FY2019

This year’s rollover functionality is a courtesy extended to HCF applicants who completed the Request for Services or FCC Form 461 process in FY2018 and would like to use the FY2018 approved FCC Form 461 in FY2019.

 

Those requesting the FY2018 FCC Form 461 rollover functionality must meet the following requirements:

  • The FCC Form 461 must have been submitted for FY2018, and previously reviewed and approved by RHC in FY2018.
  • The FY2018 FCC Form 461 and/or competitive bidding process must have complied with competitive bidding rules.

Applicants requesting the FCC Form 461 rollover understand that their FY2019 FCC Form 462 may be denied if the FY2018 FCC Form 461 and/or competitive bidding process is found to have been in violation of competitive bidding rules.

The rollover process will only be applied to the FCC Form 461, and not the FCC Form 462. Applicants must still submit a FY2019 FCC Form 462 if they wish to apply for HCF Program funding in FY2019.

How to submit your FCC Form 461 rollover request:

  • Send email to: RHC-Assist@usac.org 
  • Subject line of email: FCC Form 461 Rollover Request App #
  • Include within the email body: HCP #, FCC Form 461 application #
  • Once emailed, the rollover request may take 5-8 business days to review and process.
  • If approved, your request will be confirmed via email from an RHC staff member.

Upcoming My Portal Updates for FY2017 Invoices (HCF Program)

A mid-December deployment will show true-up payments* in the “FCC Form 463” tab for HCPs and the “USAC Review” tab for service providers. For HCPs, true-up payments are indicated by an invoice number starting with “2017” with the date they were distributed in the “Last Edited” column. For service providers, the true-up invoice number begins with “2017” and in the “Vendor/Applicant Invoice Number” column, any true-up payments will read “True up + the original vendor invoice number.” For screenshots and a verbal explanation, please watch our FY2017 Invoicing Best Practices webinar.

*True-up payments were off- cycle payments issued when the FCC released their most recent RHC Program Order raising the cap for FY2017, which fully funded all previously pro-rated qualifying funding requests. The true-up payments covered the difference between payments already made and the adjusted amounts without the proration. True-up payments only applied to applicants who received a commitment for FY2017.

PQA Requests for Information Are Going Out

The 2018 Payment Quality Assurance (PQA) assessment program is underway. PQA is a program that assesses RHC Program payments made on invoices submitted during the past 12 months to verify that the payments were properly made – in other words, that all program rules were followed correctly when the payment was authorized and disbursed.

For disbursements made each month, a certain number of payments will be chosen, and applicants will be asked to provide specific documentation – for example, customer bills that support invoices submitted to USAC to verify that those payments were made correctly. It is important that you maintain proper documentation in order to be able to respond correctly and completely to PQA requests.

The email notifying applicants whose payments have been selected for PQA were sent in December from the domain name usac.i-sight.com. Please check your email and respond promptly if you receive an email request from USAC's PQA Program. Also check your spam folder or junk email folder to see if it contains an email from this domain. This will help expedite your review.

  • Do not hesitate to contact your reviewer if you have questions. Contact information is provided in the email.
  • Also, contact your PQA reviewer if you are unable to respond by the deadline. 

 

Winter Training Series Dates Announced!

We highly recommend attending our upcoming online training series, specifically designed to prepare applicants for the FY2019 filing window. These trainings are filled with resources, useful information, best practices, what to expect from the USAC review process and more! Attending these trainings is the best way to prepare for the FY2019 filing window.

 

  • Request for Services Webinar: Wednesday December 12, 2018 at 2 p.m. ET. Get ready for the start of the FY2019 filing window period by joining our Request for Services Best Practices webinar. We will focus on the FCC Forms 461 and 465 process and participants will be able to ask questions: Register here.   
  • Funding Request Webinar: Date January 16, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. ET Join us to prepare for FY2019. This webinar will focus on the FCC Forms 462 and 466: Register here.

 

Important Reminders

Program Eligibility Best Practices Webinar

On November 29, 2018, the RHC Program Team hosted an RHC Program Eligibility webinar. This webinar covered best practices for submitting the first form in the RHC Program process: the FCC Form 460 (for the HCF Program) and the FCC Form 465 (for the Telecom Program). The webinar recording and slides will be posted to our Online Learning Library soon!

Watch RHC 101

On September 26, 2018 the RHC Program Team hosted RHC 101: An Introduction to the RHC Program webinar. This webinar covered the basics of the program including eligibility requirements and how to get started. Were you unable to make it? The recording and slides are posted on our website here.

What to Do if You Receive an Information Request

Applicants must upload all required documentation with the submission of their FCC Forms 462 or 466. FCC Forms submitted with incomplete or missing documentation will not be reviewed, and RHC reviewers will reach out to all account holders (the primary and all secondary and tertiary account holders associated with that HCP) with a request for additional information (“Information Request”). Information Requests are sent to collect any missing documentation, address deficiencies, or to ask clarifying questions about the FCC Form. If you receive an Information Request, you must respond to it within 14 calendar days. Once you respond, the RHC reviewers will work with you, to the extent they can, to ensure that they have all the necessary documentation to complete their review. Failure to respond within the 14 calendar day timeframe will result in an automatic denial, so be sure to meet that deadline! 

LOA/TPAs Must Be Up to Date

In order to be considered eligible for funding in FY2018, Letters of Agency (LOA) and Third Party Authorizations (TPA) must be up to date through a minimum of FY2018. Be especially mindful if you are an HCP using a consultant, a consortium leader, or a consultant filing on behalf of a consortium leader. Before submitting a form, please check to ensure your authorization documents are up to date.

FCC Forms 462 and 466 submitted with expired LOAs or TPAs will result in applicants receiving Information Requests.

For more information about submitting LOAs, please see the submission guide

12/3/2018FUSF Reseller Certification Template Now Available


USAC has developed a template for wholesale carriers to obtain information from their resale customers regarding the status of their contributions to the federal Universal Service Fund (USF) on the revenue associated with the specific service(s) provided to resellers.

You can find the template on our Handouts and Reference page

This template is provided as a voluntary resource only.  Companies can develop their own template for documentation purposes related to revenue reported in Block 300 of the FCC Form 499-A. 

12/3/2018PQA Requests for Information Are Going Out


The 2018 Payment Quality Assurance (PQA) assessment program is underway. PQA is a program that assesses RHC Program payments made on invoices submitted during the past 12 months to verify that the payments were properly made – in other words, that all program rules were followed correctly when the payment was authorized and disbursed.

For disbursements made each month, a certain number of payments will be chosen, and applicants will be asked to provide specific documentation – for example, customer bills that support invoices submitted to USAC – to verify that those payments were made correctly. It is important that you maintain proper documentation in order to be able to respond correctly and completely to PQA requests.

The email request notifying applicants whose payments have been selected for PQA are being sent in December from the domain name usac.i-sight.com. Please check your email and respond promptly if you receive an email from USAC's PQA Program. Also check your spam folder or junk email folder to see if it contains an email from this domain. This will help expedite your review.

  • Do not hesitate to contact your reviewer if you have questions. Contact information is provided in the email.
  • Also, contact your PQA reviewer if you are unable to respond by the deadline.  

11/30/2018News Brief Issued


The 11/30/2018 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.

11/29/2018Legacy System Outage Due to System Maintenance - November 29


The Schools and Libraries (E-rate) Program legacy systems will be unavailable from 6:00-8:00 p.m. ET on Thursday, November 29 for system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to file invoices and use some of the search tools. The BEAR training site will also be unavailable. We apologize for any inconvenience.

 

NOTE: The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) will not be affected by this maintenance.

11/28/20182018 E-rate Service Provider Training - December 3-5


USAC’s annual service provider trainings will take place at USAC’s office located at 700 12th Street NW, Suite 900, Washington, DC 20005 on December 3-5, 2018. For those of you joining us at USAC next week, here are a few tips and reminders to help you prepare for the training.

December 3 and December 5 are identical full-day trainings designed for participants of all proficiency levels; attendees should be registered for only one of these two trainings. December 4 is a half-day afternoon training specifically for beginner participants who want the very basics of the program. Attendees must attend the session(s) for which they are confirmed as registered. To reiterate, training dates and times are:

  • Monday, December 3: 9:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. (general session for all proficiency levels)
  • Tuesday, December 4: 12:30 p.m.- 4:30 p.m. (beginner session covering program basics)
  • Wednesday, December 5: 9:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. (repeat of general session for all proficiency levels)

Registration: Registration opens 30 minutes before the day’s training as noted above. Please bring a photo ID. The name on USAC’s registration records must match the name of the person who attends the training. We are at full capacity and will not be able to accommodate walk-in registrations.

Check-in Process:

  1. Enter the 12th Street lobby at 700 12th St. NW, Washington, DC 20005.
  2. Go to USAC’s registration desk in the lobby to check in and receive your name badge and training agenda. 
  3. Then, go to the security desk in the lobby to receive your security pass.
  4. A USAC representative by the elevators will guide you to the training event.

NOTE: If you are attending two days of training, you will need to check in with USAC and receive a security pass at the beginning of each day.

Download the Training Materials: Training materials are available on our website. We will be going paperless this year, and will not have printouts. Please plan accordingly.

Food: Attendees should make their own arrangements for meals. USAC will provide recommendations for nearby breakfast and lunch options within short walking distance, of which there are many.

We look forward to seeing you next week. For more information on our fall training events, please reference our 2018 Applicant & Service Provider Trainings page.

 

11/27/2018FCC and USAC Announce National Verifier Third Launch


On Tuesday, December 4, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Tennessee will soft launch in the National Verifier. At that time, service providers in these states can check consumers’ Lifeline eligibility using the National Verifier service provider portal and paper applications.

The National Verifier will have automated connections to check program eligibility for the programs listed below. Consumers who cannot be found in the automated database or who qualify using other eligibility programs or income can submit documentation to demonstrate eligibility.  

  • Missouri: SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing
  • North Carolina: SNAP, Federal Public Housing
  • Pennsylvania: SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing
  • Tennessee: SNAP, Federal Public Housing 


During the soft launch period, service providers can continue using their legacy eligibility checking procedures if they choose.

About the National Verifier
The National Verifier shifts the responsibility for determining a consumer's Lifeline eligibility from phone and internet service providers to the program's administrator, the Universal Service Administrative Company. The National Verifier will establish whether a consumer is eligible by electronically querying state and federal data sources, and if necessary, manually reviewing supporting documents. An overview of the National Verifier can be found on USAC's website.

Service providers who do business in any of the states listed above who did not receive an email about National Verifier training schedule for Launch 3 should email LifelineProgram@usac.org to be added to the National Verifier Launch 3 training list.

11/26/2018E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) *TRAINING SITE* Outage Due to System Maintenance: November 26


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) *TRAINING SITE* will be unavailable on Monday, November 26 from 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. ET for system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to log in to and use the training site. We apologize for any inconvenience.