This section of the website focuses on contributions to the Universal Service Fund (USF) as well as general USF program participation requirements. For program-specific information, use the top menu to visit the relevant program sections of this website.
All telecommunication service providers have some role in the ongoing operation of the Universal Service Fund. In order to understand which processes to follow and forms to submit, you must first determine the exact ways in which your company interacts with USF and its programs
What is your role?
Contributors are service providers that contribute money to the Universal Service Fund.
Visit our Who Must Contribute webpage to confirm your company’s contribution and filing status*.
- ID Type: 499 Filer ID
- FCC Forms: 499-A; 499-Q
*Note: All non-exempt telecommunications providers must register for a 499 ID, including service providers that do not contribute. This includes VoIP service providers and resellers.
Participants are service providers that participate in USF programs and, in most cases, receive funding.
- ID Type: 498 ID (also called a Service Provider Identification Number, or SPIN)
- FCC Form: 498
It is extremely important to understand that these two processes are separate from each other. While many service providers are both contributors and participants, there are many cases where a service provider fits into only one or neither of these categories.
Service Provider First Steps
The first steps for all service providers is to get your necessary 498 or 499 ID numbers. Make sure to determine which ID(s) you need. Remember: if you participate in a USF Program, you need a 498 ID. If you are a telecommunications provider, you need a 499 ID.
One common requirement for both IDs is an FCC Registration Number (FRN). Before you apply for a 498 or 499 ID, register for an FCC Registration Number (FRN) if you do not have one already:
- First, go to the FCC CORES webpage.
- Set up an account in CORES by creating a username and password.
- You will then receive an automated email to verify your account’s email address and activate your account.
- Once your account is activated, log in to CORES, and select “Register New FRN” if you do not have an FRN. If you have an existing FRN, select “Associate Username to FRN.”
- After you provide the required information and submit, CORES will generate a new FRN for you, which will be associated with your username.
After you submit your form, USAC will email the “Company Officer” noted on the form about your next steps. Please read these emails carefully, as USAC will not send you a 498 or 499 ID until you have completed all necessary actions (e.g., certifying your form, submitting additional documents). Note: Form reviews can take 2-3 business days, depending on the form.
Sign up for or watch a recording of our monthly New Filer webinars.
When contacting USAC with questions or concerns, it is important to use the appropriate contact information. Please complete and submit our contact form to ensure that you reach the right team members. Alternatively, call the Customer Support Center (CSC) at (888) 641-8722. The CSC’s hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.