Step 4: Submit Funding Requests
Once you select the most cost-effective method of providing the requested services, you will then submit the FCC Form 466 (Funding Request and Certification Form). The FCC Form 466 provides information to USAC about the type of service(s) ordered, rates, service provider, and date of service provider selection. It also certifies that the bid you selected was the most cost-effective bid that you received. You must use one FCC Form 466 for each service/circuit.
On the FCC Form 466, you may request Telecomm Program support based on the circuit distance, or on the difference between the cost for services at the HCP’s location and what the same circuit would cost in a city with a population of 50,000 or more in the your site’s state.
Program rules do not allow you to request funding for the same service (e.g., circuit) from both the Telecom Program and the HCF Program.
Things to Know
Documentation: You may need to work with your service provider to obtain the information and documentation necessary to complete the FCC Form 466. For example, the service provider may need to provide detailed circuit information, a circuit diagram, a documented urban rate, or contract information.
Information Requests: As you submit your FCC Form 466, please upload all required documentation with your form. If USAC doesn’t receive sufficient documentation, RHC Program reviewers will reach out to account holders with a request for more information (“Information Request”). Reviewers send Information Requests to collect any missing documentation, address deficiencies, or ask clarifying questions about the FCC form. If you receive an Information Request, you must respond to it within 14 calendar days. Failure to respond within 14 calendar days will result in a denial.
When to Submit FCC Form 466
You must submit your funding request during a filing window for funding consideration. Filing windows are fixed periods during which all submitted requests are treated as having been received at the same time. USAC will make funding decisions after the close of each filing window. For specific filing window dates, visit the Filing Windows page.
Resubmitting recalled forms: If you recall an FCC Form 466 during the filing window, you can resubmit during that same filing window. If you recall an FCC Form 466 after the filing window closes, you will not be able to resubmit it unless another filing window opens.
Submit the forms and supporting documentation via My Portal.
Urban/Rural Rate Information and Documentation
Rural Rate Definition – 14 CFR 54.607
There are three ways that the rural rate may be calculated in the Telecom Program. You should work with your service provider to determine the appropriate method of calculating the rural rate for your funding request. Method 1 is the default for calculating the rural rate. If you cannot satisfy the requirements of Method 1, you must proceed to Method 2 and, finally, if neither Method 1 nor Method 2 is feasible, you can use Method 3.
FCC rules state that “[t]he rural rate shall be the average of the rates actually being charged to commercial customers, other than health care providers, for identical or similar services provided by the telecommunications carrier providing the service in the rural area in which the health care provider is located.”
- Similar services are those that are functionally equivalent from the perspective of the end user with respect to bandwidth and whether the service is symmetrical and asymmetrical.
- “Similar services” are defined as functionally similar from the perspective of the end user.
When collecting and submitting documents to support the rural rate calculation using Method 1, please keep in mind that the rates used to calculate the rural rate must be:
- Charged by your telecommunications carrier,
- Actually charged to customers.
- Charged to commercial customers that are not healthcare providers, and
- For services in the same rural area as the HCP.
Reviewers will look at census track data to verify this information. A certified letter from the selected telecommunications carrier is not sufficient documentation, as it does not show proof of rates actually charged to customers.
If you cannot use Method 1, proceed to Method 2:
If the telecommunications carrier does not provide similar or identical service in the rural area where the HCP is located, “the rural rate shall be the average of the tariffed and other publicly available rates, not including any rates reduced by universal service programs, charged for the same or similar services in that rural area over the same distance as the eligible service by other carriers.”
To demonstrate compliance with Method 2, the applicant must submit tariff(s) and/or publicly available rate(s) from which to derive an average.
The services listed on each tariff or publicly available rate must be:
- The same or similar to the service requested, and
- In the same rural area as the HCP.
When collecting and submitting documents to support the rural rate calculation using Method 2, please keep in mind the following:
- The documentation must be dated prior to the submission of the relevant FCC Form 466.
- It must be evident to USAC that any documentation and information supplied was available to the applicant or service provider at the time the applicant submitted its FCC Form 466.
- It must be clear to USAC which rate(s) in the documentation were used to calculate the rural rate. For example, if you are submitting a tariff, please highlight or provide an explanation that clearly indicates where in the tariff document a reviewer can find the rate you used in your calculation.
If it is not possible to use Method 1 or 2, then proceed to Method 3:
If there are no such tariffed or publicly available rates in the health care provider’s rural area, or the carrier “reasonably determines that this method for calculating the rural rate is unfair,” the carrier must submit a cost-based rate to the state commission (for intrastate rates) or the FCC (for interstate rates) for approval.
If using Method 3 for an FCC Form 466 submission:
- Supporting documentation submitted with the FCC Form 466 must show that the rates were submitted to the state commission or FCC before the applicant submitted the FCC Form 466.
- The applicant must demonstrate that the rate submitted to the FCC or state commission for approval matches the rural rate listed on its FCC Form 466, or explain any discrepancy
Please work with your service provider to insure compliance with the rural rate rule.
Urban Rate Documentation
Urban Rate Definition 47 CFR 54.605:
“If a rural health care provider requests support for an eligible service to be funded from the Telecommunications Program that is to be provided over a distance that is less than or equal to the ‘standard urban distance,’ for the state in which it is located, the ‘urban rate’ for that service shall be a rate no higher than the highest tariffed or publicly-available rate charged to a commercial customer for a functionally similar service in any city with a population of 50,000 or more in that state, calculated as if it were provided between two points within the city.”
“If a rural health care provider requests an eligible service to be provided over a distance that is greater than the ‘standard urban distance,’ for the state in which it is located, the urban rate for that service shall be a rate no higher than the highest tariffed or publicly-available rate charged to a commercial customer for a functionally similar service provided over the standard urban distance in any city with a population of 50,000 or more in that state, calculated as if the service were provided between two points within the city.”
Acceptable Urban Rate Documentation
Documentation provided must show that the urban rate provided is in compliance with the urban rate rule. Examples of rates that may be used to calculate the urban rate include:
- Safe harbor rates on the USAC website, and
- Rates in a current state, federal or NECA tariff for a functionally similar service in a city with a population of 50,000 or more in the state where the HCP is located.
Elements that reviewers will look for when evaluating the urban rate include, but are not limited to:
- Whether the rate(s) used to calculate the urban rate are for a functionally similar service (for example, whether the rate quoted is a rate for a complete and functional circuit, not simply one component of the circuit), and
- Whether the rate(s) used to calculate the urban rate are charged in a city with a population of 50,000 or more in the state in which the HCP is located.
The material on these webpages is provided for general information only and should not be relied upon or used as the sole basis for making decisions without consulting the RHC Program rules, orders, and other primary sources of information. Applicants and service providers are ultimately responsible for knowing and complying with all RHC Program rules and procedures.