Schools and Libraries (E-Rate)

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Step 4 Starting Services

Updated September 2015


In general, discounted services for a particular funding year cannot begin before July 1 of that year. Services that continue from one year to the next under a multi-year contract are considered to start again in the new funding year because they receive a new Funding Request Number (FRN) for that year.

There are two exceptions to the start date. Some Category One components can be installed before July 1 in order to provide recurring services starting July 1, and Category Two services can be installed as early as April 1 preceding the funding year.

When do services start?

You can start providing services before USAC has issued a Funding Commitment Decision Letter (FCDL); that is issued to you and the applicant in EPC, and includes details of funding commitments for the services requested. You can subscribe to receive FCDL information electronically. However, this is a business decision on your part, as USAC does not issue an FCDL until its review is complete; that review may result in funding being reduced or denied. Also, USAC will not pay invoices until an FCDL has been issued with a positive funding commitment.

After an FCDL is issued and services have started, applicants must file an FCC Form 486. The FCC Form 486 informs USAC that:

  • Services approved for discounts have started and invoicing can begin. Applicants can file FCC Form 486 before services start if they have received an FCDL, they have agreed with you that services will start in July, and they can accurately make all of the certifications on the form.
  • The applicant (or recipient of service) is in compliance with the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA). If funding requests are only for telecommunications services and/or Interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, CIPA does not apply.
  • For Funding Year (FY) 2014 and previous years only: The applicant's technology plan (if one is required) has been approved by a USAC-certified technology plan approver. For FY2011-FY2014, technology plans were required for Priority 2 services only. In earlier funding years, requirements for technology plans applied to many Priority 1 services.

These requirements are important to you because funding may be reduced by USAC if an applicant is found to be out of compliance during all or part of a funding year.

Talk With Your Customers

In advance of the start of services, you and the applicants who will be receiving your services should have a conversation about the details of those services. You should also review the terms of your contract with them. In addition, you should work with applicants to determine whether they or you will invoice USAC for the discount amount of the cost of the services.

Filing Deadline

The FCC Form 486 must be certified no later than 120 days after the Service Start Date or 120 days after the date of the FCDL, whichever is later. Filing this form late can result in a reduction in funding; the later the filing date, the greater the reduction.

FCC Form 486 Notification Letter

After USAC completes the processing of an FCC Form 486, USAC will issue an applicant version and a service provider version of an FCC Form 486 Notification Letter.

If USAC was required to adjust the Service Start Date due to a compliance issue or a late-filed form, the Service Start Date in the letter will be marked with an asterisk and followed by an explanation of the reason for the adjustment. USAC will not provide discounts for services delivered before the Service Start Date.

Non-recurring Services

Each funding year ends on June 30. Recurring services (e.g., monthly telephone or Internet service) must be delivered on or before that date for the appropriate funding year. However, non-recurring services (e.g., delivery and installation of equipment or installation of wiring) can occur through September 30.

The applicant can request a service delivery extension by filing an FCC Form 500 if more time is needed and the FRN was not automatically extended by USAC. This form must be filed on or before the service delivery deadline.

Next Step

After USAC has processed the FCC Form 486 and you have begun providing the associated services, you or the applicant can invoice USAC for the discount share of those services.