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April 2, 2012
2010 FCC Form 497 Revisions. Learn More...
April 2, 2012
FCC Form 499-A, Annual Revenue Reporting Worksheet. Learn More...
E-File Upgrade Requires Users to Set New Passwords
High Cost and Low Income Programs
USAC upgraded its E-File System user identification management software January 7, 2012, which requires current users to set new passwords. All Company Officers or General Contacts that are current users of FCC Form 498 or FCC Form 499 should have received a message from USAC with a temporary password to be used by February 7 (30 days). The first time you use the temporary password you will be asked to change it. If you have trouble using the temporary password, you can use the Forgot password link on the E-File home page to reset your password.
Authorized users – those created by the Company Officer or General Contact – will not be notified by the E-File System. The Company Officer or general contact will need to notify all of their authorized users that their passwords won't work after January 7. Authorized users will have to use the Forgot password link on the E-File home page to reset their passwords.
USAC identified common errors made by ETCs in the Low Income Program that auditors deemed to be audit findings in a series of articles in 2011. Below is a list of the findings with links to the relevant article.
Because of changes from the FCC's Connect America Fund (CAF) Order, USAC has changed the High Cost Program section of its website to more accurately reflect the FCC's direction for the program in 2012 and beyond.
You will now see sections for the “Legacy” High Cost mechanisms as well as sections for the new CAF Broadband Fund and Mobility Fund. Currently, the sections contain summaries of the changes and USAC will be updating these pages as more program requirements and processes are developed for carriers.
It's easy to use USAC's online filing portal, the E-File System, to file the Online Form 497 in the Low Income Program and the Online Form 525 for competitive eligible telecommunications carriers (CETCs) in the High Cost Program. USAC has posted video tutorials about these topics.
The first step for filing either form online is to make sure you have access to E-File with a User ID and password. Then you can set up authorized users in E-File using FCC Form 498, the Service Provider Identification Number and General Contact Information Form. This form is used by USAC to collect contact and remittance information from service providers that receive USF support.
Obtain an E-File User ID & Password
Carriers with FCC Forms 498 that have not been updated since October 2005 do not have access to E-File and must submit a new FCC Form 498 complete with signature page to create an E-File account.
You can fill out an HTML version of FCC Form 498 by clicking the New Service Provider link on the E-File home page. Then you can print and mail a copy to USAC.
Establishing Users in E-File
To establish authorized users in E-File, the General Contact or Company Officer listed on FCC Form 498 must log in to E-File and create a New User under Authorized Users on the left-hand side of the Information Center.
After clicking on New User, you will be asked to supply the email address of the user you wish to add. Enter the email address and click Search. If the user already exists, their information will appear. If not, you will need to fill in the required information such as address and contact information. Then, you click on the Next button to assign entitlements in E-File to the new user.
On the next screen, select the check boxes for the forms you want your new user to have access to and then click the Save button. Then you will get a message that your new authorized user was successfully added to your E-File account. Now this user can prepare the online FCC Form 497 or FCC Form 525 for the Company Officer to submit and certify to USAC.
If you have any questions about updating your FCC Form 498, please contact USAC Customer Operations at (888) 641-8722.
FCC Addresses Lifeline Issues at January Meeting
Low Income Program
The FCC took up Lifeline reform at its open meeting January 31. The Commission considered a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking “to comprehensively reform the Lifeline program to ensure universal availability of communications services to low-income Americans while minimizing the universal service contribution burden, including by eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse; strengthening program oversight and administration; and modernizing Lifeline to support broadband adoption.” The Commission approved the order and will release it shortly.
States Have the Primary Responsibility for Designating Carriers as ETCs
To participate in the High Cost Program, rural and non-rural incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) and competitive wireline and wireless telecommunications companies must be designated as eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) by their state regulatory commissions or, in some cases, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Carriers should contact their state regulatory commission to determine how to initiate the ETC designation process.
Notify USAC of New ETC Designations
Upon adoption or modification of an ETC designation order by the state regulatory commission, a new competitive ETC should receive a copy of the order. To apply for High Cost support, the ETC must submit the order to USAC with all attachments and supporting documentation necessary to identify their service area within the incumbent service area(s) at the study area or wire center level for both rural and non-rural incumbents. The order should be submitted to USAC in a timely manner, via fax, e-mail, or regular mail.
When a competitive carrier requests designation in some, but not all, of the wire centers in those areas, the ETC designation orders must address Section 54.207 of the FCC's rules for redefinition of rural incumbent local exchange carrier study areas. Once ILEC study areas are redefined, the state commission or ETC must file a petition with the FCC seeking concurrence with the redefinition. However, in the FCC's ETC Order (FCC 05-46, released March 17, 2005), the FCC stated that rural ILEC wire centers in study areas that have already been redefined do not need to be redefined again. Wire centers that have not been redefined must have FCC approval in order to be eligible for High Cost support.
All ETC designation orders should clearly state any area(s) that require redefinition. If no rural incumbent study area requires redefinition, the ETC designation order should clearly state that the CETC's service area does not require any redefinition by the FCC pursuant to Section 54.207.
For more information on High Cost Program support, visit http://www.usac.org/hc/
ETCs Must File FCC Form 497 Revisions for 2010 Low Income Support by April 2, 2012
Low Income Program
April 2, 2012 is the last day to submit revisions to FCC Form 497 (Lifeline and Link Up Worksheet) for 2010. USAC's administrative window for submitting revisions to FCC Form 497 will close March 31, 2012, for all months prior to January 2011. This applies to submission of data on FCC Form 497, including original (first-time) submissions and revisions of previously submitted data. USAC's administrative window for submitting data for the year 2009 is currently closed.
You may also mail FCC Form 497 to the following address:
2000 L Street, NW, Suite 200
Washington, DC 20036
If you have questions, contact the Low Income Customer Service Center at (866) 873-4727.
All telecommunications carriers providing international and interstate telecommunications services, providers of interstate telecommunications that offer interstate telecommunications for a fee on a non-common carrier basis, and payphone providers that are aggregators are required to contribute to universal service and file a FCC Form 499-A (Annual Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet). The 2012 FCC Form 499-A will be available March 1. The form must be filed by April 2.
The Fund Administration Video Tutorial page has a tutorial for filing FCC Form 499-A and other E-File tutorials.
USAC encourages fund contributors to take advantage of its online submission capabilities using the E-File portal. Online users will be able to quickly revise FCC Forms 499 by pulling up historical forms, editing and submitting your changes, and certifying online.
All paper FCC Forms 499 (including prior-year forms) should be mailed to:
Universal Service Administrative Company
Form 499 Data Collection Agent
2000 L Street, N.W., Suite 200
Washington, DC 20036
See USAC's Revenue Reporting page for more details.
Suggest Training and Outreach
Do you have a suggestion for a handout, video tutorial, or training topic for the High Cost or Low Income Programs? Please suggest it! Contact Us