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USAC's Latest News Archive gives you access to all announcements related to the universal service programs as they were made throughout the years.

11/14/2018Register for the RHC Program Winter Training Series!


Over the next few months, the RHC Program will host a series of webinars in preparation for FY2019. These comprehensive webinars will cover the application process from start to finish and include eligibility, request for services, and funding request best practices. Whether you are a new applicant or just need a refresher on the forms, these webinars are the best way to prepare for the upcoming funding year!

 

November 29 2:00 p.m. ET – RHC Program Eligibility Best Practices Webinar – Register here!

December 12 2:00 p.m. ET – RHC Program Request for Services Best Practices Webinar – Register here!

January 16 2:00 p.m. ET -- RHC Program Funding Request Best Practices Webinar – Register here!


After the discussion of the agenda items, RHC Program staff will accept questions from the audience. Participants are encouraged to submit questions in advance using the webinar registration form.

Can't attend the live webinars? All webinar recordings will be made available on our website in the Online Learning Library.


11/14/2018E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Outage Due to System Maintenance: November 18-19


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) and the EPC training site will be unavailable from Sunday, November 18 at 7:00 p.m ET through Monday, November 19 at 1:00 a.m. ET for monthly system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to log in to and use EPC. 

We apologize for any inconvenience.

11/9/2018News Brief Issued


The 11/9/2018 issue of the News Brief is now available. Receive E-rate Program tips, deadline reminders, and answers to your questions in this weekly newsletter. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

11/9/2018My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance Thursday, November 29


Rural Health Care's My Portal will be unavailable from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 29, 2018 due to system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for health care providers or service providers. We apologize for any inconvenience.

11/9/2018Scheduled System Maintenance Wednesday, November 14


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD), National Verifier, and Lifeline Claims System (LCS) will be unavailable due to scheduled system maintenance starting Wednesday, November 14, from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. ET

NLAD, National Verifier, and LCS pre-production and production environments will not be available for use during this time.

11/9/2018E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Outage Due to System Maintenance: November 9-10


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) will be unavailable from Friday, November 9 at 8:00 p.m ET through Saturday, November 10 at 2:00 a.m. ET for system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to log in to and use EPC. We apologize for any inconvenience.

11/2/2018News Brief Issued


The 11/2/2018 issue of the News Brief is now available. Receive E-rate Program tips, deadline reminders, and answers to your questions in this weekly newsletter. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

11/1/2018Newsletter for November 2018


No Additional Filing Window Periods for FY2018

Due to demand for RHC Program funds, there will not be a second filing window period for FY2018. The RHC Program will not accept additional funding requests (FCC Forms 462 or 466) for FY2018. All qualifying single year funding requests with no upfront costs will be fully funded for FY2018 with no proration. Please keep in mind that FY2018 funding requests are still in review and commitment decisions have not yet been released. RHC will communicate any updates via the email addresses the applicant has submitted in My Portal.

 

My Portal continues to accept Telecom Program FCC Form 467 (Connection Certification Form) and Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program FCC Form 463 (Invoice and Request for Disbursement Form) for applicants approved for funding in FY2017. 

HCF Program Invoicing Deadline Approaching

Please keep in mind that 11:59 p.m. ET December 31, 2018 is the last day to submit the FCC Form 463 to USAC if you had a funding commitment end date of June 30, 2018.

Don't know when your HCF Program invoicing deadline is? Use the look-up tool on our website! Download the Invoicing Deadline Spreadsheet.

Register for the Invoicing Best Practices Webinar on November 15! This webinar will cover how to submit the FCC Form 463 for healthcare providers (HCPs) and service providers. It contains helpful tips, best practices, what to expect from the USAC review process, and more!

Watch our step-by-step invoicing guide video series. These videos go over the submission process of the FCC Form 463, and we highly recommend viewing them if you are submitting your FCC Form 463 for the first time or just simply need a refresher in anticipation of an upcoming deadline: Individual HCPs, Consortia

Winter Training Series Dates Announced!

?We highly recommend attending our upcoming online training series, specifically designed to prepare applicants for the FY2019 filing window. These trainings are filled with resources, useful information, best practices, what to expect from the USAC review process and more! Attending these trainings is the best way to prepare for the FY2019 filing window.

  • Eligibility Webinar: Thursday November 29, 2018 at 2 p.m. ET. Ready to apply to the RHC Program? Join our Eligibility Best Practices webinar to learn how to submit the first form in the application process, the FCC Form 460 or 465. Register here.
  • Request for Services Webinar: Wednesday December 12, 2018 at 2 p.m. ET. Get ready for the start of the FY2019 filing window period by joining our Request for Services Best Practices webinar. We will focus on the FCC Forms 461 and 465 process and participants will be able to ask questions: Register here.   

RHC Program Funding Cap Order

On June 25, 2018, the FCC issued an Order that adopted rules to: (1) increase the annual RHC Program funding cap to $571 million and apply it to FY2017; (2) annually adjust the RHC Program funding cap for inflation, beginning with FY2018; and (3) establish a process to carry-forward unused funds from past funding years for use in future funding years. The rules became effective upon publication of the Order in the Federal Register on June 29, 2018.

Watch the 2018 RHC Program Funding Cap Order Information Webinar and download the FAQ Sheet.

What this means for FY2017: Due to the increase in the RHC Program funding cap for FY2017, all previously approved FY2017 funding requests will receive 100% of their approved funding amount. The proration that was previously applied to FY2017 funding commitments has been removed, and revised Funding Commitment Letters (FCLs) have been issued via email. If you have not received your revised FY2017 FCL or have questions about it, please contact RHC-Assist@usac.org.

Please log in to My Portal and make sure you are up to date with your FY2017 invoices. If you have questions about the invoicing process, please look at our program invoicing pages for additional information: HCF Invoicing Page and Telecom Invoicing Page.

What this means for FY2018: As noted in the FCC’s 2018 RHC Program Funding Cap Order, the RHC Program funding cap for FY2018 will be $581 million, adjusted for inflation. As a reminder, the FY2018 filing window closed on Friday, June 29, 2018. Applicants are currently unable to submit funding requests for FY2018.

Revised FY2017 HCP Support Schedules (HSS) Distributed

HCPs and service providers in the Telecom Program were emailed revised FY2017 HCP Support Schedules, which now reflect the 100% support amount (no proration).

Access Your Revised FY2017 FCL in My Portal

The Revised FY2017 Funding Commitment Letters (FCLs) you received via email are now also available in My Portal. Download the How to Find Your FCL in My Portal Tip Sheet for more information on accessing your FCL.

 

Important Reminders for FY2018

Watch RHC 101

On September 26, the RHC Program Team hosted RHC 101: An Introduction to the RHC Program webinar. This webinar covered the basics of the program including eligibility requirements and how to get started. Were you unable to make it? The recording and slides are posted on our website here.

What to Do if You Receive an Information Request

Applicants must upload all required documentation with the submission of their FCC Forms 462 or 466. FCC Forms submitted with incomplete or missing documentation will not be reviewed, and RHC reviewers will reach out to all account holders (the primary and all secondary and tertiary account holders associated with that HCP) with a request for additional information (“Information Request”). Information Requests are sent to collect any missing documentation, address deficiencies, or to ask clarifying questions about the FCC Form. If you receive an Information Request, you must respond to it within 14 calendar days. Once you respond, the RHC reviewers will work with you, to the extent they can, to ensure that they have all the necessary documentation to complete their review. Failure to respond within the 14 calendar day timeframe will result in an automatic denial, so be sure to meet that deadline! 

LOA/TPAs Must Be Up to Date

In order to be considered eligible for funding in FY2018, Letters of Agency (LOA) and Third Party Authorizations (TPA) must be up to date through a minimum of FY2018. Be especially mindful if you are an HCP using a consultant, a consortium leader, or a consultant filing on behalf of a consortium leader. Before submitting a form, please check to ensure your authorization documents are up to date.

FCC Forms 462 and 466 submitted with expired LOAs or TPAs will result in applicants receiving Information Requests.

For more information about submitting LOAs, please see the submission guide

11/1/2018Register for the HCF Program Invoicing Webinar November 15!


Register for the Invoicing Best Practices Webinar on November 15! This webinar will cover how to submit the FCC Form 463 for healthcare providers (HCPs) and service providers. It contains helpful tips, best practices, what to expect from the USAC review process, and more!

10/29/2018Lifeline Program Newsletter - October 2018


The October 2018 issue of Lifeline Program News is now available. Sign up to receive the newsletter by email in the Subscription Center.

October headlines:

  • Only Enter Test Data in NLAD Pre-Production Environment
  • Documentation Reminder for TPIV Dispute Resolution Error Code T18  
  • FCC and USAC Announce National Verifier Full Launch Date for Initial Launch States
  • National Verifier Live in Five Additional States and One Territory 
  • Keep Companies Near Me Tool Up-to-Date 
  • Minimum Service Standards Increase December 1 
  • Webinar on December 12: FCC Form 555 

10/29/2018Scheduled System Maintenance Tuesday, October 30


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD), National Verifier, and Lifeline Claims System (LCS) will be unavailable due to scheduled system maintenance starting Tuesday, October 30 from 10 p.m. until 11 p.m. ET.

NLAD, National Verifier, and LCS pre-production and production environments will not be available for use during this time.

10/26/2018News Brief Issued


The 10/26/2018 issue of the News Brief is now available. Receive E-rate Program tips, deadline reminders, and answers to your questions in this weekly newsletter. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

10/26/2018NLAD, LCS and National Verifier Service Fully Restored


Service to the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) and the Lifeline Claims System (LCS) has been fully restored. Access to all features and functionalities, including reports is working as usual.

 

Users should no longer experience issues performing eligibility verifications in the National Verifier service provider portal.

 

We apologize for the inconvenience that this disruption may have caused.  

10/25/20182018 Fall Webinars - Registration is Now Open


Join USAC for our live training webinarsthis fall. Our upcoming webinars will provide guidance on basic E-rate Productivity Center(EPC) navigation for new applicants, how to update an applicant profile, and how all program participants can prepare for the upcoming application filing window.   

 

October Webinar: EPC 101 for Applicants – October 25, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. EDT  
This webinar is designed to help new applicants become familiar with EPC. Click here to register.  

 

November Webinar: Updating Applicant Profiles - November 20, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. ET    
This webinar is designed to help applicants update their EPC profiles in preparation for the Funding Year (FY) 2019 application filing window. Click here to register.        

 

December Webinar: Preparing for FY2019 - December 12, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. ET    
This webinar is designed to help applicants and service providers prepare for the FY2019 application filing window. Click here to register.

10/25/2018Scheduled System Maintenance Friday, October 26


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) and the National Verifier pre-production environments will be unavailable due to scheduled system maintenance starting Friday, October 26 from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. ET.

NLAD and the National Verifier production environments will be available for use during this time.

10/24/2018E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) *TRAINING SITE* Outage Due to System Maintenance: October 25


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) *TRAINING SITE* will be unavailable on Thursday, October 25 from 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. EDT for system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to log in to and use the training site. We apologize for any inconvenience.

10/19/2018News Brief Issued


The 10/19/2018 issue of the News Brief is now available. Receive E-rate Program tips, deadline reminders, and answers to your questions in this weekly newsletter. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

10/18/2018Legacy System Outage Due to System Maintenance - October 19-20


The Schools and Libraries (E-rate) Program legacy systems will be unavailable from 8:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, October 19 through 2:00 a.m. EDT on Saturday, October 20 for system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to file invoices and use some of the search tools. The BEAR training site will also be unavailable. NOTE: The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) will not be affected by this outage. We apologize for any inconvenience.

10/18/2018My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance Monday, October 22


Rural Health Care's My Portal will be unavailable from 7:00 - 9:00 a.m. Monday, October 22, 2018 due to system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for health care providers or service providers. We apologize for any inconvenience.


10/18/2018October 2018 Contributor Invoice Summary Now Available Online


The October 2018 invoice summary for contributors is now online and available for filers to view in E-File. 

Watch this quick video to learn how to access your online invoice summary

10/17/2018E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Outage Due to System Maintenance: October 21-22


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) and the EPC training site will be unavailable from Sunday, October 21 at 7:00 p.m EDT through Monday, October 22 at 1:00 a.m. EDT for monthly system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to log in to and use EPC. 

We apologize for any inconvenience.

10/17/2018Scheduled System Maintenance Friday, October 19


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD), National Verifier, and Lifeline Claims System (LCS) will be unavailable due to scheduled system maintenance starting Friday, October 19 at 10 p.m. ET until Saturday, October 20 at 11 a.m. ET.

NLAD, National Verifier, and LCS pre-production and production environments will not be available for use during this time.

Please note the longer maintenance window.

10/12/2018News Brief Issued


The 10/12/2018 issue of the News Brief is now available. Receive E-rate Program tips, deadline reminders, and answers to your questions in this weekly newsletter. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

10/12/2018E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) *TRAINING SITE* Outage Due to System Maintenance: October 15


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) *TRAINING SITE* will be unavailable on Monday, October 15 from 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. EDT for system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to log in to and use the training site. We apologize for any inconvenience.

10/11/20182018 E-rate Program Training Begins Next Week


USAC’s annual fall training starts on Monday, October 15, 2018 at USAC’s office located at 700 12th Street NW, Suite 900, Washington, DC 20005. For those of you joining us at USAC next week, here are a few tips and reminders to help you prepare for the training.

 

Registration: Please bring your registration confirmation with you along with a photo ID. We are at full capacity and will not be able to accommodate walk-in registrations. The name on the registration must match the name of the person who attends the training.

 

There is a three-step check-in process in the building lobby:

  1. Go to the security desk in the lobby to receive your security pass.
  2. After you receive your security pass, go to USAC’s registration desk in the lobby to check in and receive your name badge and training agenda.
  3. Find a USAC representative by the elevators to guide you to the training event.

NOTE: If you are attending both days of training, you will need to request a security pass and check in at the beginning of each day.

 

Download the Training Materials: Training materials are available on our website. We will be going paperless this year, and will not have printouts. Please plan accordingly.

 

Food: Attendees should make their own arrangements for meals. USAC will provide recommendations for nearby breakfast and lunch options within walking distance.

 

We look forward to seeing you next week. For information on other fall training events, please reference our 2018 Applicant & Service Provider Trainings page.

10/11/2018FCC and USAC Announce Second National Verifier Launch


Today, the FCC and USAC announced the launch of the National Verifier in five additional states and one territory beginning Monday, October 15:

  • Guam
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota

At that time, service providers in the states and territory can begin using the National Verifier to determine subscriber eligibility. During the soft launch period, service providers can continue using their legacy eligibility checking procedures if they choose.

About the National Verifier

The National Verifier shifts the responsibility for determining a consumer's Lifeline eligibility from phone and internet service providers to the program's administrator, the Universal Service Administrative Company. The National Verifier will establish whether a consumer is eligible by electronically querying state and federal data sources, and if necessary, manually reviewing supporting documents. An overview of the National Verifier can be found on USAC's website.

Service providers who do business in any of the states or territory listed in this bulletin who did not receive an email about National Verifier training schedule for Launch 2 should email LifelineProgram@usac.org to be added to the National Verifier Launch 2 training list (this is different from the initial launch states training list).

10/10/2018October Webinar - Registration is Now Open


Join USAC for the monthly E-rate Program webinar. In October, we will discuss the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC).

 

E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) 101 for Applicants – October 25, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. EDTRegister Today

This webinar is designed to help new applicants become familiar with the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC). EPC is the account and application management portal for the E-rate Program. Program participants use this tool to manage program processes, receive notifications and to contact customer service. In this webinar, you will learn about basic navigation in EPC, including logging in for the first time.

10/8/2018Connect America Fund Map Now Available


USAC has published a new interactive online map that shows the impact of the Connect America Fund (CAF) program on broadband expansion across rural America. Now live, the Connect America Fund Broadband Map – or CAF Map – displays the locations where carriers that receive CAF support have built out mass-market, high-speed Internet service. The map can be accessed on the High Cost tools page.

10/5/2018News Brief Issued


The 10/5/2018 issue of the News Brief is now available. Receive E-rate Program tips, deadline reminders, and answers to your questions in this weekly newsletter. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

10/4/2018Newsletter for October 2018


Revised FY2017 HCP Support Schedules (HSS) Distributed

HCPs and service providers in the Telecom Program were emailed revised FY2017 HCP Support Schedules, which now reflect the 100% support amount (no proration).

Access Your Revised FY2017 FCL in My Portal

The Revised FY2017 Funding Commitment Letters (FCLs) you received via email are now also available in My Portal. Download the How to Find Your FCL in My Portal Tip Sheet for more information on accessing your FCL

RHC Program Funding Cap Order

On June 25, 2018, the FCC issued an Order that adopted rules to: (1) increase the annual RHC Program funding cap to $571 million and apply it to FY2017; (2) annually adjust the RHC Program funding cap for inflation, beginning with FY2018; and (3) establish a process to carry-forward unused funds from past funding years for use in future funding years. The rules became effective upon publication of the Order in the Federal Register on June 29, 2018.

Watch the 2018 RHC Program Funding Cap Order Information Webinar and download the FAQ Sheet.

What this means for FY2017: Due to the increase in the RHC Program funding cap for FY2017, all previously approved FY2017 funding requests will receive 100% of their approved funding amount. The proration that was previously applied to FY2017 funding commitments has been removed, and revised Funding Commitment Letters (FCLs) have been issued via email. If you have not received your revised FY2017 FCL or have questions about it, please contact RHC-Assist@usac.org.

Please log in to My Portal and make sure you are up to date with your FY2017 invoices. If you have questions about the invoicing process, please look at our program invoicing pages for additional information: HCF Invoicing Page and Telecom Invoicing Page.

What this means for FY2018: As noted in the FCC’s 2018 RHC Program Funding Cap Order, the RHC Program funding cap for FY2018 will be $581 million, adjusted for inflation. As a reminder, the FY2018 filing window closed on Friday, June 29, 2018. Applicants are currently unable to submit funding requests for FY2018.

 

Important Reminders for FY2018

Upcoming Invoicing Training

The HCF Program invoicing deadline for FY2017 commitments ending on June 30, 2018 is December 31, 2018. The RHC Program Team will be hosting a webinar covering the invoicing process and best practices on November 15, 2018. Register today!

Watch RHC 101

On September 26, the RHC Program Team hosted RHC 101: An Introduction to the RHC Program webinar. This webinar covered the basics of the program including eligibility requirements and how to get started. Were you unable to make it? The recording and slides are posted on our website here.

Appeal Decisions

USAC is no longer sending appeal decisions via postal mail. If you have appealed a decision made by USAC, you will receive your appeal decision via email. Applicants seeking FCC review of a decision issued by USAC must follow the FCC’s regular appeal procedures.  

New Extended RHC Help Desk Hours!

As of August 1st, the RHC Help Desk hours were extended from 8:00 a.m. ET – 5:00 p.m. ET to 8:00 a.m. ET – 8:00 p.m. ET. We hope these longer operational hours will help meet the needs of our stakeholders on both coasts, and, in an effort to provide more one-on-one guidance, we are increasing the number of dedicated staff responding to phone calls and emails. Our goal with this expansion is to deliver thorough, helpful answers and guidance to you, faster.

What to Do if You Receive an Information Request

Applicants must upload all required documentation with the submission of their FCC Forms 462 or 466. FCC Forms submitted with incomplete or missing documentation will not be reviewed, and RHC reviewers will reach out to all account holders (the primary and all secondary and tertiary account holders associated with that HCP) with a request for additional information (“Information Request”). Information Requests are sent to collect any missing documentation, address deficiencies, or to ask clarifying questions about the FCC Form. If you receive an Information Request, you must respond to it within 14 calendar days. Once you respond, the RHC reviewers will work with you, to the extent they can, to ensure that they have all the necessary documentation to complete their review. Failure to respond within the 14 calendar day timeframe will result in an automatic denial, so be sure to meet that deadline! 

LOA/TPAs Must Be Up to Date

In order to be considered eligible for funding in FY2018, Letters of Agency (LOA) and Third Party Authorizations (TPA) must be up to date through a minimum of FY2018. Be especially mindful if you are an HCP using a consultant, a consortium leader, or a consultant filing on behalf of a consortium leader. Before submitting a form, please check to ensure your authorization documents are up to date.

FCC Forms 462 and 466 submitted with expired LOAs or TPAs will result in applicants receiving Information Requests.

For more information about submitting LOAs, please see the submission guide

10/2/20184Q2018 498/499 Spotlight Newsletter


The Fourth Quarter 498/499 Spotlight is now available here

10/2/2018November 2018 FCC Form 499-Q due November 1, 2018


The November 2018 FCC Form 499-Q (quarterly Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet) projects the 2019 1st quarter revenue of a contributor.  The form must be certified and submitted to USAC by Thursday, November 1, 2018.

Filers that do not have a direct universal service obligation (de minimis) are not required to file the FCC Form 499-Q however USAC recommends that de minimis filers notify USAC via email ("Form499@usac.org)" of its de minimis status each quarter. 

The data reported on this form is used to calculate the FCC universal service contribution factor and circularity factor, as well as to calculate the filer's monthly universal service contribution obligation. 

Watch this video to learn how to review reported revenue data prior to submitting to USAC to ensure accurate invoices are generated.

Filer can make changes to the November 2018 FCC Form 499-Q until December 17, 2018. 

After that date, no revisions to the November 2018 Form 499-Q will be accepted.

10/1/2018New Invoice Deadline Extension Tool Now Available in EPC


In last week's SL News Brief, we noted that we were working on a new invoice deadline extension tool in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC).

The new EPC invoice extension deadline tool is now available. Applicants, consultants, and service providers will be able to request invoice deadline extensions for their Funding Request Numbers (FRNs) for Funding Year (FY) 2016 and forward by using the new tool.

As a reminder, program participants will use the existing legacy tool (the tool that applicants and service providers can access through the online BEAR Form) to request invoice deadline extensions for FRNs from FY2015 and previous funding years.

Visit the Invoice Deadline Extensions page for more information.

9/28/2018News Brief Issued


The 9/28/2018 issue of the News Brief is now available. Receive E-rate Program tips, deadline reminders, and answers to your questions in this weekly newsletter. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

9/27/2018Lifeline Program Newsletter - September 2018


The September 2018 issue of Lifeline Program News is now available. Sign up to receive the newsletter by email in the Subscription Center.

September headlines:

  • Check NLAD Prior to Snapshot Date
  • Universal Forms Submission Guidance
  • National Verifier Update
  • Minimum Service Standards Increase
  • Did You Know? NLAD Changes
  • October Lifeline Program Webinar

9/25/2018My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance Friday, September 28


Rural Health Care's My Portal will be unavailable from 7:00 - 9:00 a.m. Friday, September 28, 2018 due to system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for health care providers or service providers. We apologize for any inconvenience.

9/25/2018Invoice Deadline Extension Tool Update


In last week's SL News Brief, we noted that we were working on a new invoice deadline extension tool in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC). The new EPC tool will be used to request invoice deadline extensions for Funding Request Numbers (FRNs) for funding years after Funding Year (FY) 2015. Over the weekend, we removed the legacy tool option for submitting extension requests for post-FY2015 FRNs.

The existing legacy tool (the tool accessed through the online BEAR Form) can be used to request invoice deadline extensions for FRNs from FY2015 and previous funding years. 

The new EPC tool will be available October 1.You can submit an invoice deadline extension request by opening a customer service case in EPC this week, but we suggest that you wait for the new EPC tool. (We will not be able to process those requests until the new EPC tool becomes available.)

 

9/21/2018News Brief Issued


The 9/21/2018 issue of the News Brief is now available. Receive E-rate Program tips, deadline reminders, and answers to your questions in this weekly newsletter. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

9/19/2018E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Outage Due to System Maintenance: September 23-24


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) and the EPC training site will be unavailable from Sunday, September 23 at 7:00 p.m EDT through Monday, September 24 at 1:00 a.m. EDT for monthly system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to log in to and use EPC. 

We apologize for any inconvenience.

  

9/17/2018Customer Service Operations Back to Normal


Thank you for your patience during Hurricane Florence. All of our customer service operations are back to normal. 

9/14/2018News Brief Issued


The 9/14/2018 issue of the News Brief is now available. Receive E-rate Program tips, deadline reminders, and answers to your questions in this weekly newsletter. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

9/14/2018*UPDATE* Hurricane Florence Impact on Customer Service


Now that Hurricane Florence has made landfall, our call centers are feeling the effects of the weather event. If you try contacting the E-rate Client Service Bureau, the Rural Health Care Support Center, or the High Cost Support Center today, or the Lifeline Support Center over the next couple of days, you might experience longer than normal wait times. We are working as quickly as possible to answer your calls. We appreciate your patience.

***

USAC’s customer service operations are located in the projected path of Hurricane Florence. In the coming days, we anticipate service disruptions to USAC’s phone and email support including the E-rate Client Service Bureau, the Rural Health Care Support Center and the High Cost Support Center. USAC is monitoring the storm and working to meet your customer service needs while ensuring the safety of our team. 

As the storm moves inland, we are experiencing longer than normal wait times that may continue in the coming days. We appreciate your patience.

9/14/2018*UPDATE* Hurricane Florence Impact on Customer Service


Now that Hurricane Florence has made landfall, our call centers are feeling the effects of the weather event. If you try contacting the Lifeline Support Center over the next couple of days, you might experience longer than normal wait times. We are working as quickly as possible to answer your calls. We appreciate your patience.

***

USAC’s customer service operations are located in the projected path of Hurricane Florence. In the coming days, we anticipate service disruptions to USAC’s phone and email support including the E-rate Client Service Bureau, the Rural Health Care Support Center and the High Cost Support Center.

USAC is monitoring the storm and working to meet your customer service needs while ensuring the safety of our team. As the storm moves inland, we are experiencing longer than normal wait times that may continue in the coming days. We appreciate your patience.

9/14/2018*UPDATE* Hurricane Florence Impact on Customer Service


Now that Hurricane Florence has made landfall, our call centers are feeling the effects of the weather event. If you try contacting the E-rate Client Service Bureau, the Rural Health Care Support Center, or the High Cost Support Center today, you might experience longer than normal wait times. We are working as quickly as possible to answer your calls. We appreciate your patience.


***

USAC’s customer service operations are located in the projected path of Hurricane Florence. In the coming days, we anticipate service disruptions to USAC’s phone and email support including the E-rate Client Service Bureau, the Rural Health Care Support Center and the High Cost Support Center. USAC is monitoring the storm and working to meet your customer service needs while ensuring the safety of our team.

As the storm moves inland, we are experiencing longer than normal wait times that may continue in the coming days. We appreciate your patience.

9/14/2018FCC Form 481 Non-confidential Data Now Available


USAC has published non-confidential FCC Form 481 data filed in July by carriers participating in the High Cost program. This data can be found on the tools page of the High Cost website.

 

Beginning with the 2018 filing year, USAC is providing public access to most FCC Form 481 data filed annually by carriers that receive High Cost support. Eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) that participate in the High Cost program must file FCC Form 481 with USAC by July 1 every year. This form collects financial and operations information used to validate carrier support.  

The public data file contains a separate tab for each section of Form 481 being published, with individual lines in each section displayed by column. Cells that are blacked out in the data file indicate the exclusion of certain information subject to protective order or not routinely available for inspection, consistent with 47 C.F.R. § 0.457(d), as well as data subject to a carrier request for confidential treatment. We may make this information public, in accordance with any FCC review of confidentiality requests, in a subsequent publication of the data.

 

In addition, narrative attachments to the Form 481 filings, and detailed information filed by Alaska Plan participants about newly available back-haul capacity, are currently excluded from public release.

  

9/13/2018FCC Announces 4th Quarter 2018 Contribution Factor Increase to 20.1 Percent


The FCC released a Public Notice (DA 18-944  ) announcing that the proposed universal service contribution factor for the fourth quarter (October - December) of 2018 will be .201 or 20.1 percent.

9/13/2018FCC Announces 4th Quarter 2018 Contribution Factor Increase to 20.1 Percent


The FCC released a Public Notice (DA 18-944 ) announcing that the proposed universal service contribution factor for the fourth quarter (October - December) of 2018 will be .201 or 20.1 percent. 

9/12/2018New HUBB Features Now Available


USAC has updated the High Cost Universal Broadband (HUBB) portal to allow certain revisions to broadband deployment data already certified in the system. Carriers can now edit the following information in the HUBB:        

  • Address, city and state  
  • Speed tier  
  • Multi-dwelling units (MDU)

In addition, carriers that have certified “no locations to upload” may now undo that certification and file new locations with the system while the filing window is open.    Other HUBB changes include an updated Manage Uploads page and an updated Milestone Certification page, as well as a new Notifications page to serve as a central location for HUBB announcements.  

These system updates are intended to help carriers more easily navigate the HUBB to file broadband deployment data with USAC and more easily track the status of their filings. The changes reflect the input of carriers that use the system, including feedback gathered during ongoing user testing.

 

9/12/2018Hurricane Florence Potential Impact on Customer Service Operations


USAC’s customer service operations are located in the projected path of Hurricane Florence. In the coming days, we anticipate service disruptions to USAC’s phone and email support including the E-rate Client Service Bureau, the Rural Health Care Support Center, the High Cost Support Center, and the Lifeline Support Center. USAC is monitoring the storm and working to meet your customer service needs while ensuring the safety of our team.   

Please see USAC's program pages for updates about the Hurricane's impact to each programs' customer service.  

9/11/2018NLAD 4.8.0 Production Release


NLAD version 4.8.0 was released into the Production environment yesterday, Monday, September 10, 2018

With this release, carriers can use the new A13 code to resolve address failures. In addition, carriers can only request two years of data for the Detail Transaction and Detail Resolution Status reports.

One New UI and API Error Message

A new error message was added. Carriers will encounter this error when requesting more than two years of data for the Detail Transaction or Detail Resolution Status reports.

      INVALID_DATE_RANGE: Date range cannot be more than 2 years from current date.

One New "A Code" Available to Resolve Address Errors

The new code A13 may be used to resolve INVALID_ADDRESS or AMS_FAILURE_ANALYSIS errors. The A13 code indicates that a carrier has reviewed documentation containing the latitude and longitudinal coordinates of a subscriber's address.

Revision to Reverification Subscriber Status Report

In addition, the TPIV Deceased Failure and TPIV Deceased Failure Resolution columns were removed from the Reverification Subscriber Status report. These columns will not be used in the reverification reports for the initial launch states. Service providers should not act on the information previously included in this column.

9/7/20182018 E-rate Training - Register Today!


The Schools and Libraries Program will hold training sessions for E-rate Program participants this fall. During the training you'll have the opportunity to ask questions and hear directly from members of the USAC Schools and Libraries team on key topics important to successful participation in the program. 

 

REGISTER HERE 

 

USAC will be conducting in-person E-rate training sessions at the following locations:

 

Applicant Trainings

  • October 15/16 – Washington, DC
  • October 18/19 – Washington, DC
  • October 22/23 – Palatine, IL (Chicago area)
  • November 1/2 – Sacramento, CA
  • November 13/14 – Omaha, NE
  • November 28/29 – Atlanta,GA

 

Service Provider Trainings

  • December 3 – Washington, DC
  • December 4/5 – Washington, DC
  

9/7/2018News Brief Issued


The 9/7/2018 issue of the News Brief is now available. Receive E-rate Program tips, deadline reminders, and answers to your questions in this weekly newsletter. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

9/6/2018Newsletter for September 2018


FY2017 Consortia Annual Reports Due September 30, 2018

Per Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program rules, all consortia receiving Rural Health Care (RHC) Program funding are required to submit an annual report to USAC using an Excel template (available for download on the USAC website) to supplement information collected in RHC Program application forms. The reports for FY2017 (July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2018) are due September 30, 2018.

Who Needs to Submit the Annual Report? HCF Program consortia must submit an annual report for each funding year in which the consortium received HCF support and for the life of a supported facility for which the consortium received large upfront payments. RHC Pilot Program consortia must submit an annual report for each year in which the consortium receives Pilot support.

For instructions on how to complete and submit the FY2017 Annual Report, please visit our website.

RHC Program Funding Cap Order

On June 25, 2018, the FCC issued an Order that adopted rules to: (1) increase the annual RHC Program funding cap to $571 million and apply it to FY2017; (2) annually adjust the RHC Program funding cap for inflation, beginning with FY2018; and (3) establish a process to carry-forward unused funds from past funding years for use in future funding years. The rules became effective upon publication of the Order in the Federal Register on June 29, 2018.

Watch the 2018 RHC Program Funding Cap Order Information Webinar and download the FAQ Sheet.

What this means for FY2017: Due to the increase in the RHC Program funding cap for FY2017, all previously approved FY2017 funding requests will receive 100% of their approved funding amount. The proration that was previously applied to FY2017 funding commitments has been removed, and revised Funding Commitment Letters (FCLs) have been issued via email. If you have not received your revised FY2017 FCL or have questions about it, please contact RHC-Assist@usac.org.

Please log in to My Portal and make sure you are up to date with your FY2017 invoices. If you have questions about the invoicing process, please look at our program invoicing pages for additional information: HCF Invoicing Page and Telecom Invoicing Page.

What this means for FY2018: As noted in the FCC’s 2018 RHC Program Funding Cap Order, the RHC Program funding cap for FY2018 will be $581 million, adjusted for inflation. As a reminder, the FY2018 filing window closed on Friday, June 29, 2018. Applicants are currently unable to submit funding requests for FY2018.

Access Your Revised FCL in My Portal: The Revised FY2017 FCLs you received via email are now also available in My Portal. Download the How to Find Your FCL in My Portal Tip Sheet for more information on accessing your FCL.

 

Important Reminders for FY2018

Register for RHC 101 - An Introduction to the RHC Program

Are you or a colleague interested in learning more about the RHC Program? On September 26, 2018, we will be hosting an RHC Program 101: An Introduction to the RHC Program webinar for beginners. This webinar covers the basics of the program including eligibility requirements and how to get started. Register today!

Appeal Decisions

USAC is no longer sending appeal decisions via postal mail. If you have appealed a decision made by USAC, you will receive your appeal decision via email. Applicants seeking Commission review of a decision issued by USAC must follow the Commission’s regular appeal procedures.  

New Extended RHC Help Desk Hours!

As of August 1st, the RHC Help Desk hours were extended from 8:00 a.m. ET – 5:00 p.m. ET to 8:00 a.m. ET – 8:00 p.m. ET. We hope these longer operational hours will help meet the needs of our stakeholders on both coasts, and, in an effort to provide more one-on-one guidance, we are increasing the number of dedicated staff responding to phone calls and emails. Our goal with this expansion is to deliver thorough, helpful answers and guidance to you, faster.

What to Do if You Receive an Information Request

As you submit your FCC Form 462 or 466, please upload all required documentation with your forms. FCC Forms submitted with incomplete or missing documentation will not be reviewed, and RHC reviewers will reach out to all account holders (the primary and all secondary and tertiary account holders associated with that HCP) with a request for additional information (“Information Request”). Information Requests are sent to collect any missing documentation, address deficiencies, or to ask clarifying questions about the FCC Form. If you receive an Information Request, you must respond to it within 14 calendar days. Once you respond, the RHC reviewers will work with you, to the extent they can, to ensure that they have all the necessary documentation to complete their review. Failure to respond within the 14 calendar day timeframe will result in an automatic denial, so be sure to meet that deadline! 

LOA/TPAs Must Be Up to Date

In order to be considered eligible for funding in FY2018, Letters of Agency (LOA) and Third Party Authorizations (TPA) must be up to date through a minimum of FY2018. Be especially mindful if you are an HCP using a consultant, a consortium leader, or a consultant filing on behalf of a consortium leader. Before submitting a form, please check to ensure your authorization documents are up to date.

FCC Forms 462 and 466 submitted with expired LOAs or TPAs will result in applicants receiving Information Requests.

8/31/2018News Brief Issued


The 8/31/2018 issue of the News Brief is now available. Receive E-rate Program tips, deadline reminders, and answers to your questions in this weekly newsletter. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

8/31/2018FY2017 Annual Report for HCF & Pilot Program Consortia Due September 30


Per Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program rules, all consortia receiving Rural Health Care (RHC) Program funding are required to submit an annual report to USAC using an Excel template (available for download on the USAC website) to supplement information collected in RHC Program application forms. The reports for funding year (FY) 2017 (July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2018) are due September 30, 2018.

Who Needs to Submit the Annual report?
HCF Program consortia must submit an annual report for each funding year in which the consortium received HCF support and for the life of a supported facility for which the consortium received large upfront payments.

Pilot Program consortia must submit an annual report for each year in which the consortium receives Pilot support.

How to Submit the Annual Report
HCF consortia annual report instructions:

  1. Open the annual report template hyperlinked under “Excel template” on the HCF consortia annual report page.
  2. Review the telehealth applications in column A of the “Telehealth Services” tab. Select “Yes” using the dropdown in column B for each telehealth application for which the consortium received funding in FY2017.
  3. Save the template with the consortium name and HCP number in the file name to your computer.
  4. Email the completed template to RHC-assist@usac.org by September 30, 2018.

Pilot Program consortia annual report instructions:

  1. Open the annual report template hyperlinked under “Excel template” on the Pilot Program consortia annual report page.
  2. Review the telehealth applications in column A of the “Telehealth Services” tab. Select “Yes” using the dropdown in column B for each telehealth application for which the consortium received funding in FY2017.
  3. If the Pilot Program consortium bid for services in FY2016, the consortium must complete both the “Telehealth Services” tab and “Competitive Bidding Information” tab. To complete the “Competitive weight, and the evaluation criteria using the dropdown in column F.
  4. Save the template with the consortium name and HCP number in the file name to your computer.
  5. Email the completed template to RHC-assist@usac.org by September 30, 2018.

Failure to submit the required annual report(s) by the deadline may result in the denial of program funding.

8/30/2018Estimated de minimis Threshold for Calendar Year 2018 Published


For calendar year 2018, filers that report less than $62,655.75 of combined interstate and international revenues on Line 423, columns (d) and (e) of the 2018 FCC Form 499-A will likely be considered de minimis for calendar year 2018.

This threshold is an estimate based on the FCC's estimated factor for calendar year 2018.

Read more about how filer's qualify for de minimis status here.

8/30/2018E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) *TRAINING SITE* Outage Due to System Maintenance: August 30


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) *TRAINING SITE* will be unavailable from Thursday, August 30 at 7:00 p.m. EDT through midnight for system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to log in to and use the training site. We apologize for any inconvenience.

8/29/2018Lifeline Program Newsletter - August 2018


The August 2018 issue of Lifeline Program News is now available. Sign up to receive the newsletter by email in the Subscription Center

August Headlines:

  • USAC-Elected Recertification Elections Close August 31
  • Minimum Service Standards Increase December 1
  • National Verifier: August Announcements
  • Did You Know? New Address Resolution Code Added in NLAD
  • Did You Know? Upcoming Changes to NLAD Reports
  • Webinar on September 12: Lifeline 101

8/27/2018My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance Wednesday, August 29


Rural Health Care's My Portal will be unavailable from 7:00 - 9:00 a.m. Wednesday, August 29, 2018 due to system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for health care providers or service providers. We apologize for any inconvenience.

8/27/2018USAC Elected Recertification Election Form Available Until August 31


Service providers have until August 31, 2018 to elect USAC to conduct the rolling recertification process on their behalf. There is no fee to elect USAC. 

The election period for 2019 USAC-elected recertification is open until August 31, 2018. 

To elect USAC, you will need to complete the online election form. You can submit one election form for all your company's SACs. The election form is also available on the USAC-elected recertification page. 

For 2019 USAC-elected recertification, elections will not automatically renew. If your company has currently elected USAC, you will need to submit an election for 2019. 

Service providers in National Verifier first-wave states do not need to submit an election for 2019 USAC-elected recertification. The National Verifier will conduct annual recertification for initial wave states. 

For additional information, please visit the USAC-elected recertification page of our website.  

8/27/2018NLAD 4.6.0 Pre-Production Release


NLAD version 4.6.0 was released into the Pre-Production environment today, August 27, 2018.

With this release, carriers will be able to test the new "A Code" in the pre-production environment.

Once the code has been released into the production environment, service providers will be able
to select code A13 to resolve AMS errors if they reviewed documentation containing latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates.

8/24/2018News Brief Issued


The 8/24/2018 issue of the News Brief is now available. Receive E-rate Program tips, deadline reminders, and answers to your questions in this weekly newsletter. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

8/23/2018Systems Down For Maintenance Starting Friday, August 24 at 9PM ET


All High Cost systems will be unavailable from Friday, August 24 at 9PM ET to Saturday, August 25 at 9AM for monthly system maintenance. This includes HUBB, MF II Challenge Process Portal and the state access tools for HUBB and 481 data.  During this time, users will be unable to log in to and use the HUBB. We apologize for any inconvenience.

  

8/22/2018September Webinar - Registration is Now Open


Join USAC for the monthly E-rate Program webinar. In September, we will discuss the invoicing process.

 

Navigating the E-rate Invoicing Process – September 19, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. EDTRegister Today

This webinar is designed to help E-rate Program applicants and service providers understand the invoicing process. In this webinar, you will learn more about filing FCC Forms 472 (BEAR), FCC Forms 474 (SPI), electronic invoicing for service providers, invoice deadlines and more.

8/22/2018Legacy System Outage Due to System Maintenance - August 24-25


The Schools and Libraries (E-rate) Program legacy systems will be unavailable from 9:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, August 24 through 10:00 a.m. EDT on Saturday, August 25 for system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to file invoices and use some of the search tools. The BEAR training site will also be unavailable. NOTE: The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) may be affected by this outage. EPC users may experience related system slowness or intermittent outages during this maintenance window. We apologize for any inconvenience.

8/22/2018E-File Outage Due to System Maintenance: August 24-25


USAC's E-File system will be unavailable for all users from 9:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, August 24 through 10:00 a.m. EDT on Saturday, August 25 for system maintenance. During this time the E-file login page will be unavailable and users will be unable to file, certify, and search for FCC Forms 498 or 499. All online FCC forms for contributors, service providers, and eligible telecommunications carriers will not be accessible. NOTE: The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) may be affected by this outage. EPC users may experience related system slowness or intermittent outages during this maintenance window. We apologize for any inconvenience.

8/22/2018E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Outage Due to System Maintenance: August 26-27


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) and the EPC training site will be unavailable from Sunday, August 26 at 7:00 p.m EDT through Monday, August 27 at 1:00 a.m. EDT for monthly system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to log in to and use EPC. 

We apologize for any inconvenience.

8/21/2018Legacy System Outage Due to System Maintenance - August 21


The Schools and Libraries (E-rate) Program legacy systems will be unavailable from 6:00-8:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, August 21 for system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to file invoices and use some of the search tools. The BEAR training site will also be unavailable. We apologize for any inconvenience.

 

NOTE: The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) will not be affected by this maintenance.

 

8/17/2018News Brief Issued


The 8/17/2018 issue of the News Brief is now available. Receive E-rate Program tips, deadline reminders, and answers to your questions in this weekly newsletter. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

8/15/2018My Portal System Update Regarding Draft Forms


RHC will be updating My Portal with FY2017 Funding Cap information during August. Once the system updates are complete, applicants will see updated commitment information for FY2017 funding request numbers (FRNs), as well as the non-prorated amounts when submitting the FCC Form 463 (HCF Program Invoice and Disbursement Form) and both the FCC Form 467 (Telecom Program Connection and Certification Form) and Telecom Program Invoice. 

This update will temporarily impact the submission of FY2017 FCC Form 463, FCC Form 467, and the Telecom Program Invoice. FCC Forms 463, 467, and Telecom Program Invoices will not be accepted between August 22nd and September 4th. Please make sure to submit these forms prior to August 22nd, or after September 4th. 

Applicants should also refrain from creating any FY2017 FCC Forms 463, FCC Forms 467, and Telecom Program Invoice drafts during this time, as they will no longer be valid after system updates are made.

FY2017 applicants can begin submitting FCC Form 463, FCC Form 467, and Telecom Program Invoice again on September 5th.

More Information about Invoicing

8/10/2018News Brief Issued


The 8/10/2018 issue of the News Brief is now available. Receive E-rate Program tips, deadline reminders, and answers to your questions in this weekly newsletter. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

8/7/2018Newsletter for August 2018


RHC Program Funding Cap Order

On June 25, 2018, the FCC issued an Order that adopted rules to: (1) increase the annual RHC Program funding cap to $571 million and apply it to FY2017; (2) annually adjust the RHC Program funding cap for inflation, beginning with FY2018; and (3) establish a process to carry-forward unused funds from past funding years for use in future funding years. The rules became effective upon publication of the Order in the Federal Register on June 29, 2018.

Watch the 2018 RHC Program Funding Cap Order Information Webinar and download the FAQ Sheet.

What this means for FY2017: Due to the increase in the RHC Program funding cap for FY2017, all previously approved FY2017 funding requests will receive 100% of their approved funding amount. The proration that was previously applied to FY2017 funding commitments has been removed, and revised Funding Commitment Letters (FCLs) have been issued via email.

If you have not received your revised FY2017 FCL or have questions about it, please contact RHC-Assist@usac.org.

Impact on Invoicing for FY2017: Applicants and service providers have received their revised FCLs via email over the past few weeks and all applicants may now continue invoicing. While the commitment amount in My Portal will continue to reflect the proration at this time, you may continue the invoicing process as normal. USAC will adjust the disbursement amount of approved invoices to ensure that service providers receive the full, non-prorated commitment amount. If you have fully or partially invoiced, no further action is needed on previously submitted invoices. Please look to our program invoicing pages for information on the invoicing process: HCF Invoicing Page and Telecom Invoicing Page.

Service Provider FY2017 Remittance Statements: As stated above, if you have fully or partially invoiced, no further action is required on previously submitted invoices. The service provider will automatically receive the difference in the upcoming payment disbursement and the payment will be reflected on the remittance statement as “True Up” with the associated invoice number. Download the Remittance Statement Tip Sheet for more information.

What this means for FY2018: As noted in the FCC’s 2018 RHC Program Funding Cap Order, the RHC Program funding cap for FY2018 will be $581 million, adjusted for inflation. As a reminder, the FY2018 filing window closed on Friday, June 29, 2018. Applicants are unable to submit funding requests at this time.

My Portal Updates: FY2017 Site and Service Substitutions, FCC Forms 463 and 467, and Telecom Program Invoice

RHC will be updating My Portal with FY2017 Funding Cap information during August. Once the system updates are complete, applicants will see updated commitment information, as well as the non-prorated amounts when submitting the FCC Form 463 (HCF Program Invoice and Disbursement Form) and both the FCC Form 467 (Telecom Program Connection and Certification Form) and Telecom Program Invoice. This system update will allow applicants to access updated commitment information for FY2017 funding request numbers (FRNs).

FY2017 Site and Service Substitutions: Due to the My Portal system updates, FY2017 site and service substitutions will not be accepted between August 1st and September 4th. Additionally, site and service substitutions for FY2017 in draft status will no longer be valid after system updates are made. Applicants therefore should refrain from creating any FY2017 draft site and service substitutions between August 1st and September 4th, as they will not be valid due to system updates. These changes will not impact site and service substitutions for prior funding years. Applicants may continue to submit prior year site and service substitutions as usual during this time.

FY2017 applicants can begin submitting site and service substitutions again on September 5th.

FY2017 FCC Form 463, FCC Form 467, and the Telecom Program Invoice: The My Portal updates in August will also impact the submission of FY2017 FCC Form 463, FCC Form 467, and the Telecom Program Invoice. Please keep in mind that FCC Forms 463, 467, and Telecom Program Invoices will not be accepted between August 22nd and September 4th. Please make sure to submit these forms prior to August 22nd, or after September 4th. Applicants should also refrain from creating any FY2017 FCC Forms 463, FCC Forms 467, and Telecom Program Invoice drafts during this time, as they will no longer be valid after system updates are made.

FY2017 applicants can begin submitting FCC Form 463, FCC Form 467, and Telecom Program Invoice again on September 5th.

 

Important Reminders for FY2018

New Extended RHC Help Desk Hours!

Starting August 1st, the RHC Help Desk hours will be extended from 8:00 a.m. ET – 5:00 p.m. ET to 8:00 a.m. ET – 8:00 p.m. ET. We hope these longer operational hours will help meet the needs of our stakeholders on both coasts, and, in an effort to provide more one-on-one guidance, we are increasing the number of dedicated staff responding to phone calls and emails. Our goal with this expansion is to deliver thorough, helpful answers and guidance to you, faster.

What to Do if You Receive an Information Request

As you submit your FCC Form 462 or 466, please upload all required documentation with your forms. FCC Forms submitted with incomplete or missing documentation will not be reviewed, and RHC reviewers will reach out to all account holders (the primary and all secondary and tertiary account holders associated with that HCP) with a request for additional information (“Information Request”). Information Requests are sent to collect any missing documentation, address deficiencies, or to ask clarifying questions about the FCC Form. If you receive an Information Request, you must respond to it within 14 calendar days. Once you respond, the RHC reviewers will work with you, to the extent they can, to ensure that they have all the necessary documentation to complete their review. Failure to respond within the 14 calendar day timeframe will result in an automatic denial, so be sure to meet that deadline! 

LOA/TPAs Must Be Up to Date

In order to be considered eligible for funding in FY2018, Letters of Agency (LOA) and Third Party Authorizations (TPA) must be up to date through a minimum of FY2018. Be especially mindful if you are an HCP using a consultant, a consortium leader, or a consultant filing on behalf of a consortium leader. Before submitting a form, please check to ensure your authorization documents are up to date.

FCC Forms 462 and 466 submitted with expired LOAs or TPAs will result in applicants receiving Information Requests.

For more information about submitting LOAs, please see the submission guide

8/3/2018News Brief Issued


The 8/3/2018 issue of the News Brief is now available. Receive E-rate Program tips, deadline reminders, and answers to your questions in this weekly newsletter. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

8/2/2018Budget Control Mechanism for the Fourth Quarter of 2018 Now Available


In order to remain within the $2 billion budget for the 2018-2019 tariff year, USAC applied the FCC Budget Control Mechanism methodology to reduce support for each carrier. USAC now makes available these support calculations for October 2018 through December 2018. The support calculations can be found here.

7/31/2018FCC Issues Public Notice on Draft ESL for FY2019


On July 30, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Public Notice (DA 18-789) establishing the comment period for the Funding Year (FY) 2019 Eligible Services List (ESL). Comments on the draft ESL, which is attached to the Public Notice, are due to the FCC on or before August 29, 2018. Reply comments are due to the FCC on or before September 13, 2018. For information on filing comments with the FCC, please refer to the Public Notice.

7/31/2018E-File Outage Due to System Maintenance: August 2


USAC's E-Filesystem will be unavailable for all users on Thursday, August 2, 2018, from 8:00-10:00 p.m. EDT, for system maintenance. During this time the E-file login page will be unavailable and users will be unable to file, certify, and search for FCC Forms 498 or 499. All online FCC forms for contributors, service providers, and eligible telecommunications carriers will not be accessible. The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) will not be affected by this outage. We apologize for any inconvenience.

7/31/2018Lifeline Program Newsletter - July 2018


The July 2018 issue of Lifeline Program News is now available. Sign up to receive the newsletter by email in the Subscription Center.

July Headlines:

USAC-Elected Recertification Elections Open
Minimum Service Standards Increase December 1
Universal Forms Requirement in Effect
National Verifier Update
Using Coordinates to Correct AMS Errors
Webinar on August 8: Tribal Mapping Tool Demo

7/30/2018August Webinar - Registration is Now Open


Join USAC for the monthly E-rate Program webinar. In August, we will discuss the competitive bidding process.

 

Understanding Competitive BiddingAugust 22, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. EDTRegister Today

In this webinar, we will provide information for applicants and service providers about each step in the competitive bidding process including filing and searching for Funding Year 2019 FCC Forms 470, request for proposal (RFP) documents, responding to bids, and more.

7/27/2018News Brief Issued


The 7/27/2018 issue of the News Brief is now available. Receive E-rate Program tips, deadline reminders, and answers to your questions in this weekly newsletter. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

7/26/2018Legacy System Outage Due to System Maintenance - July 27-28


The Schools and Libraries (E-rate) Program legacy systems will be unavailable from 9:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, July 27 through 10:00 a.m. EDT on Saturday, July 28 for system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to file invoices and use some of the search tools. The BEAR training site will also be unavailable. We apologize for any inconvenience.

 

NOTE: The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) will not be affected by this maintenance.

7/25/2018My Portal System Updates Regarding FY2017 Site and Service Substitutions


The RHC Program will be updating My Portal with FY2017 Funding Cap information during August 2018. Once the system updates are complete, applicants will see updated commitment information, as well as the non-prorated amounts when submitting the FCC Form 463 (Invoice and Disbursement Form) and both the FCC Form 467 (Connection and Certification Form) and Telecom Invoice. This system update will allow applicants to access updated and accurate commitment information for FY2017 funding request numbers (FRNs).

The necessary My Portal system updates will mean that FY2017 site and service substitutions will not be accepted during August. Additionally, site and service substitutions that are in draft status will no longer be valid after system updates are made. We ask that FY2017 applicants submit all site and service substitutions by Tuesday, July 31st, and refrain from submitting any in the month of August. Please also refrain from creating any draft site and service substitutions in August, as they will not be valid due to system updates. These changes will not impact site and service substitutions for prior years, which will continue to be accepted during August; applicants may continue to submit prior year site and service substitutions as usual during this time.

FY2017 applicants can begin submitting site and service substitutions again in September.

7/25/2018E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Outage Due to System Maintenance: July 29-30


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) and the EPC training site will be unavailable from Sunday, July 29 at 7:00 p.m EDT through Monday, July 30 at 1:00 a.m. EDT for monthly system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to log in to and use EPC. We apologize for any inconvenience.

7/25/2018My Portal Outage Due To System Maintenance Thursday, August 2


Rural Health Care's My Portal will be unavailable from 8:00 - 10:00 p.m. Thursday, August 2, 2018 due to system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for health care providers or service providers. We apologize for any inconvenience.

7/25/2018Production Release of LCS v2.4.0


Enhancements to the "Filing History" page in the Lifeline Claims Systems (LCS) were released into the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) production environment on Monday, July 23, 2018.

In this release, new "search" and "PDF" services were added that enable users to review the history of certified (original and revised) Lifeline claims and to download a printable PDF. 

The list of available claims a user can retrieve, view, and download is dependent on the data month of the claim.

The "Filing History" archive in LCS includes:

      - All 2018 and future original and revised certified claims submitted through LCS 

      - The most recent original or revised certified FCC Forms 497 submitted through E-File (FY 2017 and prior) 

Note: Original and revised paper FCC Forms 497 submitted by email, fax, ore mail are not retrievable in LCS.

Please refer to the LCS User Guide, which is also available in the Lifeline Claims System, and the LCS Upload Validation Rules for details on how to complete the input template.

How to Log In to the Lifeline Claims System

LCS users will log in through the NLAD production environment to access the Lifeline Claims System. The LCS landing page will differ depending on a user's E-File entitlements.

  

7/24/2018National Verifier Service Provider Portal Intermittent Sign-In Issues


Some National Verifier users are experiencing trouble logging into the service provider portal. USAC is aware of the issue and working to determine the cause of these service disruptions.  We will provide an update by 2 p.m. ET.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

7/20/2018News Brief Issued


The 7/20/2018 issue of the News Brief is now available. Receive E-rate Program tips, deadline reminders, and answers to your questions in this weekly newsletter. Subscribe to it and receive it each week in your inbox.

7/20/2018E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Outage Due to System Maintenance: July 22-23


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) will be unavailable from Sunday, July 22 at 7:00 p.m EDT through Monday, July 23 at 1:00 a.m. EDT for system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to log in to and use EPC. We apologize for any inconvenience.

7/19/2018Assistance with Filing the FCC Form 470


We have posted a video series on how to file FCC Form 470 for Funding Year 2019, using a single FCC Form 470 as an example from the beginning to the end of the filing process. This video series is located in the Online Learning Library and includes the following:

For step-by-step information on filing – including screenshots of each step in the process – we have also posted an FCC Form 470 User Guide. For a list with descriptions of the service type options in Category One, you can refer to the Category One Services Drop-Down Menu Reference Table

7/18/2018Watch the 2018 Funding Cap Order Informational Webinar Today!


The recording of the July 10 webinar is available here