- The whole process in detail: http://usac.org/sl/applicants/
- For service providers (thos with a SPIN): http://usac.org/sl/service-providers/default.aspx
- Tools: (search for BEN info, 498 ID status, SPIN info, Data Retrival Tool, USAC commitments and Deadlines etc: http://usac.org/sl/tools/default.aspx
- Tools: Deadline calculation tool for each step in the process: http://usac.org/sl/tools/deadlines/default.aspx
- http://e-ratecentral.com/ (for USAC updates and Fund Year Eligible Services List (DA 16-1032)
READ!! Detailed explanation of Cat 1 and Cat 2 eligible Services
More Info on Eligible services for current year
Hot link to this years list doc. Scroll down past the prelude to Category 1 and Category 2 sections: http://e-ratecentral.com/FCC/eslArchive/
Another basic link: http://www.usac.org/sl/applicants/beforeyoubegin/eligible-services-list.aspx
Phone service is being phased out in steps starting 2015. 2018 I believe is the last year phone service will be eligible
Eligible Services Deadlines for delivery
- For recurring services you must receive those services between July 1 and June 30 of the funding year you applied for those services.
- For Non recurring services like wiring and devices they must be received between July 1 of the funding year applied for and Sept 30 of the following funding year (15 month span).
Quick List of Eligible Services (Accurate as of 2017)
Basics: Category One: Data Transmission Services and Internet Access, and Voice Services. Category Two: Internal Connections, Managed Internal Broadband Services, and Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections
Category 1 (Internal connections, Managed internal connections, Internet, WAN connecting Schools/Libraries to the Internet)
- Eligible Category One services are listed in the entries for data transmission services and Internet access and voice services. This category consists of the services that provide broadband to eligible locations including data links that connect multiple points, services used to connect eligible locations to the Internet, and services that provide basic conduit access to the Internet.
- Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM)
- Broadband over Power Lines
- Cable Modem
- Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
- DS-1 (T-1), DS-3 (T-3), and Fractional T-1 or T-3
- Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN)
- Leased Lit Fiber
- Leased Dark Fiber (including dark fiber indefeasible rights (IRUs) for a set term)
- Self-Provisioned Broadband Networks
- Frame Relay
- Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS)
- OC-1, OC-3, OC-12, OC-n
- Satellite Service
- Switched Multimegabit Data Service
- Telephone dial-up
- Wireless services (e.g., microwave)
Category 2 (internal connections (equipment))
- Eligible items: Internal connections needed for broadband connectivity within schools and libraries. Support is limited to the internal connections necessary to bring broadband into, and provide it throughout, schools and libraries for educational purposes only.
- Access points used in a local area network (LAN) or wireless local area network (WLAN) environment (such as wireless access points)
- Antennas, cabling, connectors, and related components used for internal broadband connections
- Firewall services and components separate from basic firewall protection provided as a standard component of a vendor’s Internet access service.
- Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)/Battery Backup
- Wireless controller systems
- Software supporting the components on this list used to distribute high-speed broadband throughout school buildings and libraries
Applying To E-Rate Steps - Required Items
Applicant Forms (short list)
- Request bids for service (File a 470) - Window usually opens around end of Nov.
- Apply for funding (File a 471)
- Start receiving services (File a 486)
- Pay for Services and: Invoice USAC and File a BEAR form 472 (Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement) form. Form filed by applicants seeking reimbursements for bills paid in full, now due a discount.
- If Service costs or requirements change during a contract period you can file a form 500: The Adjustment of Funding Commitment and Modification to Receipt of Services Confirmation form filed by applicants for changes to or cancellation of a funding commitment request.
Form 473: The Service Provider Annual Certification form required to be filed annually by participating providers.
Form 474: The Service Provider Invoice Form used to invoice the SLD for the discounted cost of E-rate services delivered and not paid for in full by the applicant.
Form 498: The Service Provider Information Form must be filed to apply for a Service Provider Identification Number.
Evaluating 470 responses and Selecting a Service
Many details and more are here. This is a summary. http://usac.org/sl/applicants/step02/default.aspx
- If you received one bid, and that bid is cost-effective, you should memorialize that fact with a memo or email for your records (Gdocs USF Fund Year XXXX folder for instance).
- If you did not receive any bids: you can solicit bids. If you currently receive service from a service provider, you can ask your current provider to submit information in response to your FCC Form 470.
- You decide what factors you want to consider in your evaluation and how important each factor is to you. You can use as few or as many evaluation factors as you like, and you can assign percentages or points to the factors you use to reflect their relative importance. However, you must include the price of the eligible products and services as a factor and that factor must be weighted more heavily than any other single factor.
- You can score each benefit of a service but Price must be considered as the highest score weight
You can receive services:
- Under tariff or on a month-to-month basis. Services such as basic telephone service or Internet access may not require a contract. However, you must post an FCC Form 470 and open a competitive bidding process for these services each year.
- Under a contract. Tariffed or month-to-month services provided under a contract are considered to be contracted services. Eligible products and the upkeep of eligible products are generally provided under a contract. If you post an FCC Form 470 and sign a multi-year contract resulting from that posting, you do not have to post an FCC Form 470 or open a competitive bidding process again for the life of that contract.
Important USF Letters you will receive
- Form 470 Receipt Notification Letter ("RNL"): Sent to applicants informing them of the date their 470 was posted to the SLD Web site for bidding.
- RAL: The Receipt Acknowledgement Letter sent to applicants and vendors after the applicant or SLD has entered the information from a Form 471 into its systems.
- FCDL: The Funding Commitment Decisions Letter informing the applicant of the level of discount that has been awarded on each funding request. This letter is sent to the applicants and vendors
Important Deadlines throughout the filing process
- The deadline for receiving services you filed for (recurring and non-recurring) is outlined above in the heading: Eligible Services Deadlines for delivery
- Tool for calculating deadlines for each form: http://usac.org/sl/tools/deadlines/default.aspx
- The 486 deadline (receipt of services deadline) is no later than 120 days after the Service Start Date or 120 days after the date of the FCDL (Funding Commitment Decision Letter), whichever is later. Filing late can result in a reduction in funding; the later the filing date, the greater the reduction.
- 471 deadlines seem to change every year. In 2017 it was 5/11. In 2016 it was 7/27 etc.
- 470 is the same way. Changes year to year and has been anywhere between Jan 1 and and April. 470 window opens beween end of Nov and early Dec usually.
Changing a previous filing (delivery dates, service substitutions, extensions)
- Form 500 instructions: FCC-Form-500-instructions.pdf
- There are conditions where extensions are automatically made without the need to file a form 500. Those are gone over the in the PDF above.
- If you are simply reporting start of service or changing the service start date on a FCDL then you file another 486 and/or follow other instructions. The service start date cannot be before July 1 of the current funding year. You cannot file for a new service start date until you have received your Form 486 Notification Letter from USAC as you must reference that letter on the Form 500. See page 5 Block B item 6 on the Form 500 instructions PDF above.
- File a form 500 to file for an extension regarding non-recurring services installation (if installation will happen after the deadline or if installation will take longer then the deadline) There are guidelines and limitations to this. See page 5 item 8 in section B of the fcc form 500 instructions above.
- To adjust contract dates on a 471
- For moving equipment within a 3y freeze on moving equipment if a building is eliminated
- For service substitutions (for instance replacing a 48 port module with a 58 port module)
- Cancel an FRN (funding request number)
- Reduce an FRN
- You can file one form 500 with multiple different unrelated changes or do one Form 500 for each FRN
- You will get an applicant and service provider version of an acknowledgement letter in EPC when they process the Form 500
- Must have filed a 486, received your Form 486 Notification Letter from USAC and finally received a FCDL (Funding commitment decision letter) on the FRN or they will disregard/throw out your form 500.
- For non recurring services you must submit the form 500 before Sept 30th of the following funding year (this is the normal deadline for receiving non recurring services, the 15 month window)
Important E-Rate/USF Numbers
- Entity Number often called BEN (billed entity number: A number assigned to each entity applicant used to track applications for that applicant at SLD. Often called the billed entity number.
- Form 470 Number: A 15-digit number (formerly the Universal Service Control Number) assigned to all Form 470 applications filed with the SLD.
- Form 471 Number: Assigned to each Form 471 filed after data entry and used to track the 471 at SLD; can be up to ten digits.
- FRN: A Funding Request Number is assigned to each item in Block 5 of the Form 471 and is described in the Funding Commitment Decisions Letter.
- SPIN: A unique nine-digit number given to service providers after submitting Form 473 and needed by applicants for completion of the Form 471.
- Applicant-Created Identifier: A unique number assigned by the applicant on SLD forms.
Look up District RFP's at USAC to see what was posted
- FCC Form 470 Lookup tool (RFP's will be posted here). Set your date range to be within the 470 posting date range and select the current Funding year, state, applicant type (probably school district), Service type Any, then zip code to narrow things down. https://data.usac.org/publicreports/Forms/Form470Rfp/Index
- Link found here on the USAC tools page under FCC Form 470 tools https://www.usac.org/sl/tools/default.aspx