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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.

5/18/2018News Brief Issued


The 5/18/2018 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.

5/18/2018Legacy System Outage Due to System Maintenance - May 18-19


The Schools and Libraries (E-rate) Program legacy systems will be unavailable from 8:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, May 18 through 2:00 a.m. EDT on Saturday, May 19 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.

5/18/2018May 2018 Contributor Invoice Summary Now Available Online


The May 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

5/16/2018Scheduled System Maintenance on Friday, May 18 + "Confirm Link Up" Back Online


Scheduled System Maintenance Friday, May 18

The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable due to scheduled system maintenance starting Friday, May 18 at 10 p.m. until Saturday, May 19 at 4 a.m. ET. Please note the slightly longer maintenance window.

The NLAD pre-production and production environments will not be available for use during this time.

"Confirm Link Up" Functionality Available 

The "Confirm Link Up" functionality is back online as of today, May 16. "Confirm Link Up" was disabled on May 8 due to NLAD performance issues, but it is now available for carriers to use as usual.

Questions about NLAD?

If you have any questions, contact us at NLADSupport@usac.org or (877) 524-1325.

5/11/2018News Brief Issued


The 5/11/2018 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.

5/10/2018E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Outage Due to System Maintenance: May 11-12


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) will be unavailable from Friday, May 11 at 7:00 p.m EDT through Saturday, May 12 at 11:00 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.

5/10/2018E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) *TRAINING SITE* Outage Due to System Maintenance: May 10-11


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) *TRAINING SITE* will be unavailable from Thursday, May 10 at 7:00 p.m. EDT through Friday, May 11 at 10:00 a.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.

5/9/2018Reminder: Request for Proposal (RFP) Opt-Out Available for FY2018


As mentioned in our Request for Services webinar, HCF Program applicants may choose to bypass the formal USAC RFP review when submitting their FCC Form 461. During the formal RFP review, RHC identifies areas of potential non-compliance with competitive bidding requirements and makes recommendations. Watch the webinar and download the slides and summary here

To opt-out of this formal review, applicants must email rhc-assist@usac.org at the time of FCC Form 461 submission.  

For more information about RFPs, please download the RFP Checklist

5/8/2018Temporary Fix for Time-Outs + "Confirm Link Up" is Disabled


Update to Enhance NLAD Performance

USAC is aware of the slow performance and time-outs that certain users are experiencing today in the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD).

In response, USAC is temporarily disabling the "Confirm Link Up" functionality, which will increase the system's performance. Users will notice increased system performance shortly.

"Confirm Link Up" Function Disabled

To alleviate slow performance and time-outs in the NLAD system, USAC is disabling the "Confirm Link Up" functionality this afternoon, until mid-next week. 

The "Confirm Link Up" functionality verifies whether a subscriber already received Link Up at their address, and does not impact NLAD users' ability to enroll subscribers in Link Up. If a user attempts to use the "Confirm Link Up" functionality, they will receive an error message stating "Service Temporarily Unavailable."

The "Confirm Link Up" function will be available again mid-next week, once a permanent fix for NLAD's performance issues is in place.

We apologize for this inconvenience.

Questions about NLAD?

If you have any questions, contact us at NLADSupport@usac.org or (877) 524-1325.

 

5/4/2018My Portal Browser Issue


Some Rural Health Care account holders are reporting technical issues when logging into My Portal while using Google Chrome. If you are encountering these issues, please consider changing your internet browser and log in via Internet Explorer. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience.

5/4/2018News Brief Issued


The 5/4/2018 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.

5/3/2018Newsletter for May 2018


Recommended Submission Milestones Approaching

To ensure that you stay on track with your forms and are able to submit your funding request before the FY2018 filing window closes, USAC has developed recommended submission milestones for all HCF and Telecom program forms. These milestones account for both the minimum competitive bidding time required under RHC Program rules and time for USAC review:

  • For individual HCPs and consortia in the HCF Program NOT using an RFP: we recommend submitting your FCC Form 461 by May 14, 2018.
  • For HCPs in the Telecom Program: we recommend submitting your FCC Form 465 by May 14, 2018. 

Please note that these suggested submission dates, not deadlines enforced by RHC Program rules. View all the recommended submission milestones for FY2018.

FY2018 Filing Window Closes June 29, 2018

The FY2018 filing window has been extended through June 29, 2018, giving applicants additional time to submit their FY2018 funding requests. To be considered eligible for funding, you must submit your funding requests (FCC Forms 462 for the HCF Program and FCC Forms 466 in the Telecom Program) by the close of the window on June 29, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Funding requests submitted after June 29, 2018 will not be accepted.

 

View our how-to guides and tip sheets to assist you during the submission process:

Read more about funding requests:

FY2017 Funding and Proration Information Available Now

USAC announced FY2017 funding and proration information on March 16, 2018 and this information is available on our website here. Following the announcement, the RHC Program hosted a webinar for individuals who received an FCL further explaining the proration factors and funding breakdown. The recording and slides are available on our website: FY2017 Funding Information Webinar.

 

Did you receive your FY2017 Funding Commitment Letter (FCL)? Download our How to Read your FY2017 FCL tip sheet. 

Important Reminders for FY2018

 

New Resource! Competitive Bidding FAQ: For FCC Forms 461 & FCC Forms 465 that receive one or zero bids, we have posted a printable PDF with best practices and answers to common questions. 

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. Forms submitted with incomplete or missing documentation cannot be reviewed, and RHC reviewers will reach out to account holders with a request for additional information (an “Information Request”). RHC will also reach out with Information Requests to clarify specific items related to an application. If you receive an Information Request, you must respond to it within 14 calendar days. If requesting an extension, RHC must receive your request via email prior to the 14 calendar day deadline. Once you respond, the reviewers will be happy to work with you to ensure that they have all the necessary documentation to complete their review. Failure to respond in some fashion within the 14 calendar day timeframe results in a 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 Funding Year 2018. 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.

Service Provider FY2017 Voluntary Price Reductions per FCC 17-164

In December 2017, the FCC issued a waiver allowing, but not requiring, service providers to lower the cost of service on a one-time basis for HCPs which requested Telecom and/or HCF program support in FY2017. Under this order, the amount of RHC Program funding committed would not change, but service providers may voluntarily reduce the cost of service for HCPs up to the amount by which their RHC Program support was impacted by proration in FY2017.

This order does not affect FY2018 funding requests or funding determinations in any way. HCPs and service providers should determine on their own whether they want to participate. If a service provider reduces its rate downward, that change will not affect the original FCL or any of the language or dollar amounts located therein.

If you decide to take advantage of this waiver, you must notify USAC within 90 days of receiving your FY2017 FCL. Documentation should be emailed to RHC-Assist@usac.org. The email should include the following subject line: “FY17 Service Provider Voluntary Price Reductions [include FRN no.]”

Please include the following information in your email:

A statement signed by the service provider and the HCP detailing the reduction in cost of service. Specifically, this statement must include:

  • Date
  • HCP name
  • HCP number
  • Funding Request Number (FRN)
  • Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN)
  • Total cost to be remitted by HCP to the service provider
  • Affirmative statement detailing the nature and impact regarding a reduction in the cost of service

A record or documentation from the service provider to the HCP that memorializes the reduction in the cost of service, to include:

  • Type of Service
  • Cost of Service
  • Dates of Service

If you have any questions about service provider voluntary reductions, please email RHC-Assist@usac.org.

USF Disbursements Will Now Be Coming from the U.S. Treasury

As of May 2018, USAC will accept payments to and distribute funds from the U.S. Treasury. Note: This is not a change to USAC’s administration of the universal service fund (USF). 

For those service providers in the RHC Program receiving disbursements from USAC, no changes are needed. Disbursements will come from the U.S. Treasury, continue to be made via ACH transfers, and continue to be identified as coming from USAC. In the Rural Health Care Program, invoices that are approved by USAC are typically processed on the upcoming payment batch date, which occur on the 6th and the 21st of each month. If the payment batch date falls on a weekend or holiday, the payment batch date will be on the next business day.

Service providers can expect the payment from the approved submitted invoices to USAC to be reflected in their bank accounts approximately three business days after the payment batch date.

Read more about program disbursements and check your invoice deadline using our lookup tool

5/2/2018NLAD Service Temporarily Restored; Additional Maintenance Tonight


NLAD & LCS Service Restored Temporarily

The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) and Lifeline Claims System (LCS) is back in service temporarily this afternoon and will remain available until 9:00 p.m. ET.

Transaction reports will not be available during this time. Additional maintenance is required to restore report functionality; USAC will conduct additional unscheduled maintenance tonight, May 2, starting at 9:00 p.m. ET.

Early Reimbursement Payment Deadline Extension

The deadline to submit Lifeline reimbursement claims and receive same-month payment will be extended until Thursday, May 10.                     
Unscheduled Maintenance Tonight, May 2

The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) and the Lifeline Claims System (LCS) will be unavailable due to unscheduled system maintenance tonight, Wednesday, May 2, 2018, from 9:00 p.m. ET to 9:00 am ET on Thursday, May 3, 2018.

We sincerely apologize for the disruption. 

 

5/2/2018E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Outage Due to System Maintenance: Sunday, May 6


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) will be unavailable starting Sunday, May 6, from 7:00 p.m EDT through midnight EDT for monthly system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to log in to and use EPC.

The EPC training site will also be unavailable during this time.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

5/2/2018NLAD & LCS Out of Service


NLAD & LCS Out of Service

The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) and Lifeline Claims System (LCS) are out of service at this time. We will provide another update as soon as possible.

Additional maintenance is required to restore report functionality; USAC will conduct additional unscheduled maintenance tonight, May 2, starting at 9:00 p.m. ET.

Early Reimbursement Payment Deadline Extension

The deadline to submit Lifeline reimbursement claims and receive same-month payment will be extended. We will announce the new early payment deadline once NLAD and the LCS are functioning normally.

Unscheduled Maintenance Tonight, May 2

The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) and the Lifeline Claims System (LCS) will be unavailable due to unscheduled system maintenance tonight, Wednesday, May 2, 2018, from 9:00 p.m. ET to 9:00 am ET on Thursday, May 3, 2018.

We sincerely apologize for this disruption and are working diligently to resolve the issue. 

 

5/2/2018NLAD Unscheduled Maintenance until Noon ET


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) unscheduled maintenance is still underway this morning. We estimate the system will be back in service at noon ET today. We will provide another update at noon ET.  

5/1/2018Update + Unscheduled System Maintenance Tonight


NLAD and LCS Update

The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) is back in service. To resume service, USAC disabled the NLAD transaction reports (both the Summary and Detailed Transaction Reports), which will not be available for use today.

The May 1 NLAD Snapshot Reports are available in NLAD now; however, the data will not be available in the Lifeline Claims System (LCS) for some users until later today.

USAC is working to increase the performance of transactions, and will closely monitor NLAD today and tomorrow. To fix the issues with transaction reports, USAC is conducting unscheduled NLAD maintenance today, May 1, 2018. Access to the reports will be restored tomorrow, May 2.

Unscheduled NLAD Maintenance Today, May 1

The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable due to unscheduled system maintenance today, Tuesday, May 1, 2018, from 6 p.m. ET to Wednesday, May 2, 2018 at 6 a.m. ET.

Both the NLAD and LCS pre-production and production environments will not be available for use during this time.

We apologize for the inconvenience and early maintenance start time. The start time was selected due to the complexity of the issue, and the length of time required to fix it.

Questions about NLAD?

If you have any questions, contact us at NLADSupport@usac.org or (877) 524-1325.

 

5/1/2018NLAD Currently Down


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) is currently out of service. USAC is aware of the issue and is actively working toward a resolution. We will provide an update shortly.

Questions about NLAD?

If you have any questions, contact us at NLADSupport@usac.org or (877) 524-1325.

 

5/1/2018My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance Thursday May 3, 2018


Rural Health Care's My Portal will be unavailable from 9:00 - 11:00 p.m. ET Thursday, May 3, 2018 due to system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for health care providers or service providers. We apologize for any inconvenience.

5/1/2018Budget Control Mechanism for 2018-2019 Now Available


USAC announces support calculations for the budget control mechanism for July 2018 through June 2019, as required by the FCC’s Rate-of-Return Reform Order. Please see the Budget Control Mechanism for Rate of Return Carriers page for more information.

4/30/2018NLAD Intermittent Connectivity Issues


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) experienced intermittent connectivity issues between 2:45 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. ET. This was affecting some users' ability to conduct transactions in NLAD and was causing slow response times to API requests.

USAC is actively working to resolve the issue and is closely monitoring the system as we resolve the underlying problems which caused performance issues over the last week.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

Questions about NLAD? 

If you have any questions, contact us at NLADSupport@usac.org or (877) 524-1325.

 

4/27/2018News Brief Issued


The 4/27/2018 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.

4/26/2018HUBB Outage Due to System Maintenance: Friday, April 27


The HUBB will be unavailable from Friday, April 27 at 6PM to Saturday, April 28 at 10AM for monthly system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to log in to and use the HUBB. We apologize for any inconvenience.

4/26/2018Legacy System Outage Due to System Maintenance - April 27-28


The Schools and Libraries (E-rate) Program legacy systems will be unavailable from 8:00 PM EDT on Friday, April 27 through 2:00 AM EDT on Saturday, April 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.

4/25/2018My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance, Friday April 27, through Saturday, April 28, 2018


Rural Health Care's My Portal will be unavailable from 6:00 p.m. Friday, April 27 through 2:00 p.m. Saturday, April 28, 2018 due to system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for health care providers or service providers. We apologize for any inconvenience.

4/24/2018Scheduled System Maintenance on Thursday, April 26 & Friday, April 27


Scheduled System Maintenance on Thursday, April 26

The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable due to scheduled system maintenance on Thursday, April 26 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. ET.

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

Monthly Scheduled System Maintenance on Friday, April 27

The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable due to monthly scheduled system maintenance starting Friday, April 27 at 10 p.m. until Saturday, April 28 at 2 a.m. ET.

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

For a full calendar list of scheduled maintenance, visit the Maintenance Schedule page on the Lifeline Program website. 

Questions about NLAD?

If you have any questions, contact us at NLADSupport@usac.org or (877) 524-1325.  

4/24/2018Special Edition News Brief Issued


The 4/24/2018 Special Edition 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.

4/23/2018Lifeline Program Newsletter - April 2018


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

April Headlines:

  • Universal Consumer Forms Requirements
  • FCC Form 555 Revisions for Hurricane-Affected Areas
  • NLAD Tribal Verification Map - Work in Progress
  • Lifeline Resources for Beginners
  • Notable Updates to the NLAD + LCS Systems
  • FCC Form 481 Now Available; Due July 2
  • Webinar on May 9: Universal Consumer Forms
  

4/20/2018News Brief Issued


The 4/20/2018 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.

4/20/2018April 2018 Contributor Invoice Summary Now Available Online


The April 2018 invoice summary for contributors is now online and available for filers to view in eFile.  

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

4/19/2018NLAD Enhancement to Allow Updates to Broadband Service Types


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) released an enhancement today, April 19, 2018, that allows carriers to update a subscriber's service type to broadband without experiencing an error if the service initiation date is before 12/2/2016.

This enhancement resolves the error message carriers received when attempting to update a subscriber's service type to broadband following the removal of the benefit port freeze in NLAD.

Questions about NLAD? 

If you have questions, contact us at NLADSupport@usac.org or (877) 524-1325.

  

4/19/2018Recommended FY2018 Form Submission Milestones Approaching


To ensure that you stay on track with your forms and are able to submit your funding request before the FY2018 filing window closes, USAC has developed recommended submission milestones for all HCF and Telecom program forms. These milestones account for both the minimum competitive bidding time required under RHC Program rules and time for USAC review:

 
 Applicant Type Recommended Submission Dates
Indivdual HCPs and consortia in the HCF Program using an RFP  Submit your FCC Form 460 by April 13  Submit your FCC Form 461 by April 30
Individual HCPs and consortia in the HCF Program NOT using an RFP  Submit your FCC Form 460 by April 13  Submit your FCC Form 461 by May 14
HCPs in the Telecom Program Submit your FCC Form 465 by May 14

 

Please note that these are suggested submission dates and not deadlines enforced by RHC Program rules. View all the recommended submission milestones for FY2018.

Guides and Webinars

FCC Form 460 and 465 (Eligibility)

FCC Forms 461 and 465 (Request for Services)

  

4/19/2018Legacy System Outage Due to System Maintenance - April 20


The Schools and Libraries (E-rate) Program legacy systems will be unavailable from 6:00-9:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, April 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. We apologize for any inconvenience.

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

4/18/2018New Requirement on July 1: Lifeline Universal Consumer Forms


On February 20, the FCC released Public Notice DA 18-161, which requires service providers in all states and territories to begin using the Lifeline Program's new, universal consumer forms -- FCC Forms 5629, 5630, and 5631-- by July 1, 2018.

Service providers can begin using the new forms immediately.

More information is available on the Lifeline Forms and the Lifeline Universal Consumer Forms web pages.

State-Specific Forms and Requirements
If a state has an existing, required Lifeline form, service providers should use the state’s form. Visit the State Eligibility Verification Processes page of USAC’s website to see the status that each state has communicated to USAC. USAC will also publish known state-specific requirements to that web page. 

Effective Date is July 1, 2018
For initial eligibility verification, begin using the universal forms by July 1, 2018. For annual recertification, use the universal forms for subscribers whose 60-day response period begins on July 1, 2018 and later.

No Modifications are Permitted
Service providers are not permitted to modify the universal forms; however, they can be translated into other languages. If a state has an additional requirement, service providers can include additional questions and information on a separate page.

Webinar on May 9: Universal Consumer Forms
Join USAC on Wednesday, May 9, for Webinar: Universal Consumer Forms, where we'll discuss the requirements for the new forms. Please submit questions in advance using the registration form.

4/13/2018News Brief Issued


The 4/13/2018 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.

4/13/2018Updated NLAD API Specs


New TPIV Error Code Add Deceased Subscribers        

USAC is enhancing its Third-Party Identity Verification (TPIV) process in NLAD by adding a validation that will check subscribers’ identity to verify that they are not deceased. These changes will involve a new error code that will notify carriers if a subscriber is identified as deceased, and will involve new T codes to be used to dispute the error.

The changes are expected to be released to the NLAD Pre-production environment during the first week of May 2018. The changes will be available for testing in the Pre-Production environment for about two weeks before being moved to production.

Carriers can begin to prepare for this change by updating their API to accommodate the new error message and to send dispute resolution requests for the new error. The authorized proof-of-life documentation associated with each new T code will be updated on usac.org after these changes have been released in Pre-production.

The list of acceptable documentation to resolve the deceased subscriber error, along with the corresponding T codes, will be sent in a separate communication.

Summary of API Changes

If a subscriber is identified as deceased, the TPIV_FAIL_DECEASED message code will be returned in the API, and the appropriate T Code will need to be entered to resolve this error.

One New API Message Code:

  • MSGCD: TPIV_FAIL_DECEASED  
  • Description: Subscriber is identified as deceased.  
  • Return Code: 400

One New Argument for POST/Resolution/Submit Request:

  • Field name: fullNameDeceasedTCode
  • Field description: Full Name Deceased Error Resolution Code
  • Data description: Resolution error codes are required to complete a dispute resolution submission. These codes reference specific NLAD failures relating to third party identity verification (TPIV) errors.
  • Required status: Conditional
  • Conditional requirements: Required if transaction error = TPIV_FAIL_DECEASED
  • Type: Alpha-numeric
  • Format: T18, T19, T20, T21, T22, T23, T24

Sample JSON with New Argument for POST/Resolution/Submit Request: see bulletin sent on Friday, April 13

Additional Change for Broadband Service Types

In addition to the changes described above, USAC will release functionality next week that removes the requirement that the service initiation date for broadband service types is on or after December 2, 2016.

Carriers will no longer encounter the error "INVALID_BROADBAND_SVCINITDATE" when attempting to update subscribers from a voice to broadband service type.

Questions about NLAD?

If you have any questions, contact us at NLADSupport@usac.org or (877) 524-1325. 

4/12/2018Lifeline Program Webinar Recording & Slides Available - April 2018


The April 2018 Lifeline Program Webinarrecording and slides are now available in the Learn section.

This month, the User Support team gives a high-level overview of the Lifeline Program's application process, including eligibility checking, designed for service providers who are new to the Lifeline Program.

 

4/9/2018E-File Outage Due to System Maintenance on Monday, April 9, 2018


E-File will be unavailable from 4:00 PM-5:00 PM EDT on Monday, April 9, 2018, due to system maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.

4/9/2018My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance Monday, April 9, 2018


Rural Health Care's My Portal will be unavailable from 4:00 p.m. through 5:00 p.m. ET Monday, April 9, 2018 due to system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for health care providers or service providers. We apologize for any inconvenience.

4/6/2018News Brief Issued


The 4/6/2018 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.

4/6/2018NLAD 3.16.0 Production Release


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) version 3.16.0 was released into the production environment today, April 6, 2018.    

In this release, issues that some users experienced when selecting the E16 eligibility code in New York have been resolved. Users should now be able to enroll, verify, update, and transfer any subscriber in New York until the waiver expires on April 30, 2018.  

The Detail Subscriber Snapshot report has been updated to reflect a subscriber's anniversary date as of the date the snapshot report was taken, regardless of when the report is pulled.       

Lastly, the language that users must accept on the warning page after logging in to NLAD has been updated.

Questions about NLAD?  

If you have any questions, contact us at NLADSupport@usac.org or (877) 524-1325.

 

4/5/2018Newsletter for April 2018


FY2018 Filing Window Extended

The FY2018 filing window has been extended through June 29, 2018, giving applicants additional time to submit their FY2018 funding requests. To be considered eligible for funding, you must submit your funding requests (FCC Forms 462 for the HCF Program and FCC Forms 466 in the Telecom Program) by the close of the window on June 29, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Funding requests submitted after June 29, 2018 will be automatically denied.

 

View our how-to guides and tip sheets to assist you during the submission process:

Read more about funding requests:

FY2017 Funding and Proration Information Available Now

USAC announced FY2017 funding and proration information on March 16, 2018 and this information is available on our website here. Following the announcement, the RHC Program hosted a webinar further explaining the proration factors and funding breakdown. The recording and slides are available on our website: FY2017 Funding Information Information Webinar.

 

Did you receive your FY2017 Funding Commitment Letter (FCL)? Download our How to Read your FY2017 FCL tip sheet. 

FY2017 FRNs Currently in Review

Some applicants may have received an email notifying them that their FY2017 funding request was still under review. USAC will reach out when we have more information about when you will receive your FY2017 FCL. We will also hold an additional webinar explaining proration and the FY2017 funding information when the next batch of FCLs is released. Until then, please read our Information for FY2017 and FY2018 Applicants tip sheet to determine which forms you should submit for FY2018.

Recommended Submission Milestones Approaching

To ensure that you stay on track with your forms and are able to submit your funding request before the FY2018 filing window closes, USAC has developed recommended submission milestones for all HCF and Telecom program forms. These milestones account for both the minimum competitive bidding time required under RHC Program rules and time for USAC review:

  • For individual HCPs and consortia in the HCF Program using an RFP: we recommend submitting your FCC Form 460 by April 13 and your FCC Form 461 by April 30.
  • For individual HCPs and consortia in the HCF Program NOT using an RFP: we recommend submitting your FCC Form 460 by April 13 and your FCC Form 461 by May 14.
  • For HCPs in the Telecom Program: we recommend submitting your FCC Form 465 by May 14. 

Please note that these are suggested submission dates and not deadlines enforced by RHC Program rules. View all the recommended submission milestones for FY2018.

Important Reminders for FY2018

 

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. Forms submitted with incomplete or missing documentation cannot be reviewed, and RHC reviewers will reach out to account holders with a request for additional information (an “Information Request”). RHC will also reach out with Information Requests to clarify specific items related to an application. If you receive an Information Request, you must respond to it within 14 calendar days. If requesting an extension, RHC must receive your request via email prior to the 14 calendar day deadline. Once you respond, the reviewers will be happy to work with you to ensure that they have all the necessary documentation to complete their review. Failure to respond in some fashion within the 14 calendar day timeframe results in a 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 Funding Year 2018. 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.

Service Provider FY2017 Voluntary Price Reductions per FCC 17-164

In December 2017, the FCC issued a waiver allowing, but not requiring, service providers to lower the cost of service on a one-time basis for HCPs which requested Telecom and/or HCF program support in FY2017. Under this order, the amount of RHC Program funding committed would not change, but service providers may voluntarily reduce the cost of service for HCPs up to the amount by which their RHC Program support was impacted by proration in FY2017.

This order does not affect FY2018 funding requests or funding determinations in any way. HCPs and service providers should determine on their own whether they want to participate. If a service provider reduces its rate downward, that change will not affect the original FCL or any of the language or dollar amounts located therein.

If you decide to take advantage of this waiver, you must notify USAC within 90 days of receiving your FY2017 FCL. Documentation should be emailed to RHC-Assist@usac.org. The email should include the following subject line: “FY17 Service Provider Voluntary Price Reductions [include FRN no.]”

Please include the following information in your email:

A statement signed by the service provider and the HCP detailing the reduction in cost of service. Specifically, this statement must include:

  • Date
  • HCP name
  • HCP number
  • Funding Request Number (FRN)
  • Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN)
  • Total cost to be remitted by HCP to the service provider
  • Affirmative statement detailing the nature and impact regarding a reduction in the cost of service

A record or documentation from the service provider to the HCP that memorializes the reduction in the cost of service, to include:

  • Type of Service
  • Cost of Service
  • Dates of Service
If you have any questions about service provider voluntary reductions, please email RHC-Assist@usac.org.

4/4/2018E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Outage Due to System Maintenance: Sunday, April 8


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) will be unavailable starting Sunday, April 8, from 7:00 p.m EDT through midnight EDT for monthly system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to log in to and use EPC. We apologize for any inconvenience.

4/2/2018Legacy System Outage Due to System Maintenance - April 2


The Schools and Libraries (E-rate) Program legacy systems will be unavailable from 6:00-8:30 PM EDT on Monday, April 2 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.

4/2/2018Lifeline Benefit Transfers - Subscriber Consent & Eligibility Checks


The Lifeline benefit port freeze was lifted on March 19, 2018, which now gives subscribers the option to change Lifeline providers without restriction. Following this rule change, USAC has seen an increase in Lifeline benefit transfer requests in NLAD.          

As a refresher, before performing a benefit transfer, a service provider must:

  • Obtain the subscriber's consent,  
  • Verify the subscriber's Lifeline eligibility by performing a database check or reviewing eligibility documents, and  
  • Collect initialed Lifeline certifications from the subscriber.          

Once the service provider has completed these steps with the subscriber, they can perform the benefit transfer in NLAD.        

Questions about Lifeline?        

If you have questions about benefit transfers or other Lifeline program issues, contact us at LifelineProgram@usac.org.

 

3/31/20182017 USAC Annual Report Now Available


USAC's 2017 Annual Report details operations, activities, and accomplishments for the prior year, including information about participation in each of the universal service programs and administrative action intended to ensure program integrity.

3/30/2018E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Outage Due to System Maintenance: Saturday, March 31


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) will be unavailable from 7:00 p.m. to midnight EDT on Saturday, March 31 for system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to log in to and use EPC. We apologize for any inconvenience.

3/30/2018News Brief Issued


The 3/30/2018 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.

3/29/2018Watch the FY2017 Funding and Proration Information Webinar


In this webinar, RHC Program and FCC leadership discuss FY2017 funding and proration information, as well as tips for reading your FCL and helpful resources for applying in FY2018.

Recording and slides are available here

3/27/2018System Maintenance Rescheduled to Wednesday, March 28


System maintenance will not occur as scheduled tonight (March 27, 2018) The system maintenance is rescheduled for tomorrow, March 28 from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET.

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

Questions about NLAD?

If you have any questions, contact us at NLADSupport@usac.org or (877) 524-1325.

   

3/23/2018News Brief Issued


The 3/23/2018 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.

3/23/2018FY2018 Filing Window Extended through Friday, June 29, 2018


The FY2018 filing window has been extended through June 29, 2018, giving applicants additional time to submit their FY2018 funding requests. To be considered eligible for funding, you must submit your funding requests (FCC Forms 462 for the HCF Program and FCC Forms 466 in the Telecom Program) by the close of the window on June 29, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Funding requests submitted after June 29, 2018 will be automatically denied.

View our how-to guides and tip sheets to assist you during the submission process:

Read more about funding requests:

3/23/2018Legacy System Outage Due to System Maintenance - March 23-24


The Schools and Libraries (E-rate) Program legacy systems will be unavailable from 8:00 PM EDT on Friday, March 23 through 2:00 AM EDT on Saturday, March 24 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.

  

3/23/2018My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance Friday, March 23, 2018 through Saturday March 24, 2018


Rural Health Care’s My Portal will be unavailable from 6:00 PM Friday, March 23, through 2:00 PM ET on Friday, March 24, 2018 due to system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for health care providers or service providers. We apologize for any inconvenience.

3/21/2018Scheduled System Maintenance on Friday, March 23 & Tuesday, March 27


Scheduled System Maintenance on Friday, March 23        

The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable due to scheduled system maintenance starting Friday, March 23 at 10 p.m. until Saturday, March 24 at 7 a.m. ET. Please note, the maintenance window is longer this month.        

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

Additional Scheduled System Maintenance on Tuesday, March 27

The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable due to additional scheduled system maintenance Tuesday, March 27 from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET.        

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

For a full calendar list of the updated scheduled maintenance, visit the Maintenance Schedule page on the Lifeline Program website.

Questions about NLAD?

If you have any questions, contact us at NLADSupport@usac.org or (877) 524-1325. 

  

3/20/2018March 2018 Contributor Invoice Summary Now Available Online


The March 2018 invoice summary for contributors is now online and available for filers to view in eFile.  

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

3/20/2018Lifeline Program Newsletter - March 2018


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

March Headlines:

  • New Requirement on July 1: Lifeline Universal Consumer Forms      
  • Port Freeze Eliminated 
  • Change Service Types in NLAD for Subscribers Receiving “Premium Wi-Fi,” Hot-Spots, and Mesh Network Service 
  • Items Sent to the Lifeline Support Center Will Not be Processed or Returned 
  • Send USAC Your Company’s Service Areas by ZIP Code 
  • Notable Updates to USAC’s Website 
  • Reminder: Keep NLAD Up-To-Date 
  • Webinar on April 11: Eligibility Checking
     
 

3/19/2018My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance March 21, 2018


Rural Health Care’s My Portal will be unavailable from 9:00 PM through 11:00 PM ET on Wednesday, March 21, 208 due to system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for health care providers or service providers. We apologize for any inconvenience. 

3/19/2018E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) *TRAINING SITE* Outage Due to System Maintenance: March 19


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) *TRAINING SITE* will be unavailable from 3:30-4:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, March 19 for system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to log in to and use the training site. We apologize for any inconvenience.

3/19/2018NLAD 3.14.0 Production Release


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) version 3.14.0 was released into the production environment Sunday, March 18.

This release eliminated the port freeze for voice and broadband services previously required in section 54.411 of the program's rules. NLAD users will no longer see port freeze errors when enrolling or transferring subscribers. Port freeze information is no longer available in the Detail Subscriber Lookup tool or in any NLAD reports.          

The service initiation date is no longer an editable field, even when there is a change in service type. Updates to the service initiation date will require first de-enrolling then re-enrolling the subscriber.    

One New API Error Code Added:  

  • INVALID_RESOLUTION_REQUEST: Cannot submit Port Freeze Exception Codes.    

One API Error Code Description Updated:  

  • CANNOT_UPDATE_SVCINITDATE: Service initialization date cannot be updated. The service initialization date must be mm/dd/yyyy.    

Five API Error Codes Removed:  

  • CANNOT_ENROLL_WITHIN_12_MONTHS: Enrolls within 12 months of the previous service-initiation date are prohibited. Date eligible for enroll: xx/xx/xxxx  
  • CANNOT_ENROLL_WITHIN_60_DAYS: Enrolls within 60 days of the previous service-initiation date are prohibited. Date eligible for enroll: xx/xx/xxxx  
  • CANNOT_TRANSFER_WITHIN_60_DAYS: Transfers within 60 days of the previous service-initiation date are prohibited. Date eligible for transfer: xx/xx/xxxx  
  • CANNOT_TRANSFER_WITHIN_12_MONTHS: Transfers within 12 months of the previous service-initiation date are prohibited. Date eligible for transfer: xx/xx/xxxx  
  • PRIMARY_ADDRESS_MATCH: The primary address of the subscriber matches the previously entered primary address of the subscriber. An “R-code” port freeze exception request cannot be submitted.

Questions about NLAD?

If you have questions about NLAD, contact us at NLADSupport@usac.org or (877) 524-1325.

 

3/16/2018News Brief Issued


The 3/16/2018 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.

3/16/2018Lifeline Program Webinar Recording & Slides Available - March 2018


The March 2018 Lifeline Program Webinar recording and slides are now available in the Learn section.

This month, the User Support team gave high-level overview of the National Lifeline Accountability Database designed for beginners.

3/15/2018FY2017 Funding and Proration Information Available Now


The FY2017 Funding and Proration information is available here. USAC will begin distributing funding commitment letters on Friday, March 16, 2018.

3/15/2018Consortia Rurality Percentage - New Tip Sheet Available


According to HCF Program rules, a consortium must be greater than 50% rural three years after the submission of the consortium's first FCC Form 462 (funding request form). To make sure you are in compliance with program rules as your consortium's three year deadline approaches, download this tip sheet.

3/15/2018NLAD Outage Scheduled for Sunday, 3/18


 NLAD 3.14.0 Production Release

The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable due to a scheduled deployment starting Sunday, March 18 at 3 p.m. ET. The deployment will take approximately 3 hours to complete and both the pre-production and production environments will not be available during this time.          

During this release, all existing port freeze errors will be removed from NLAD. Users will no longer see error message indicating that the subscriber is in a 60-day or 12-month port freeze or that they do not qualify for an "R"- code exception.         

The service initiation date will no longer be an editable field, even when there is a change in service type. Updates to the service initiation date will require first de-enrolling then re-enrolling the subscriber.        

One new API Error Code Added:  

  • INVALID_RESOLUTION_REQUEST: Cannot submit Port Freeze Exception Codes.    

One API Error Code Description Updated:    

  • CANNOT_UPDATE_SVCINITDATE: Service initialization date cannot be updated. The service initialization date must be mm/dd/yyyy.    

Five API Error Codes Removed:  

  • CANNOT_ENROLL_WITHIN_12_MONTHS: Enrolls within 12 months of the previous service-initiation date are prohibited. Date eligible for enroll: xx/xx/xxxx  
  • CANNOT_ENROLL_WITHIN_60_DAYS: Enrolls within 60 days of the previous service-initiation date are prohibited. Date eligible for enroll: xx/xx/xxxx  
  • CANNOT_TRANSFER_WITHIN_60_DAYS: Transfers within 60 days of the previous service-initiation date are prohibited. Date eligible for transfer: xx/xx/xxxx  
  • CANNOT_TRANSFER_WITHIN_12_MONTHS: Transfers within 12 months of the previous service-initiation date are prohibited. Date eligible for transfer: xx/xx/xxxx  
  • PRIMARY_ADDRESS_MATCH: The primary address of the subscriber matches the previously entered primary address of the subscriber. An “R-code” port freeze exception request cannot be submitted.        

Port freeze information will be removed from all reports and from the Detail Active Subscriber lookup. Users will receive an error if they attempt to submit an exception request that includes a port freeze related error after the release.        

Prior to the release, USAC will review and approve (as applicable) as many port freeze resolution requests as possible. Any port freeze resolution requests that are not approved prior to the release will be "closed-rejected".         

If you notice resolution requests that were closed rejected after the release, and you did not expect that outcome, please review if they included a port freeze resolution. If so, please attempt to enroll, transfer, or update the subscriber again to generate a new resolution ID, and then submit the new resolution ID.

Questions about NLAD?

If you have questions, contact us NLADSupport@usac.org or (877) 524-1325.

 

3/13/2018Port Freeze Will Be Eliminated on March 19


The Lifeline Program's port freeze rule will be eliminated effective March 19, 2018. 

On that date, port freezes will be eliminated from NLAD processes and any customers in a port freeze will have the restrictions removed. USAC will release a notice to NLAD users via the NLAD Bulletin once the restrictions have been removed. USAC will not implement any administrative port freeze.

3/13/2018Webinar Topics for April and May 2018: Eligibility Checking and Universal Consumer Forms


The Lifeline Program's webinar topics for April and May are now available. Join us at a webinar session to hear updates and receive training about the Lifeline Program. You can receive invitations to upcoming webinar sessions via email by subscribing to the Lifeline Program Newsletter.

Lifeline Program Webinar (April): Eligibility Checking
This session will provide an overview of the process to verify a customer's eligibility for Lifeline before providing the discount. This includes the qualifying eligibility programs, household income, acceptable proof-of-eligibility documentation, and requirements for the application form.

Lifeline Program Webinar (May): Universal Consumer Forms 
This month's session will discuss the Lifeline Program's universal consumer forms - FCC Forms 5629, 5630, and 5631 - which all service providers are required to use in all states and territories by July 1, 2018. If you have questions about the universal consumer forms that you would like us to address during the webinar, please enter them on the webinar registration form or submit them via email.

We hope you can join us for tomorrow's webinar session, NLAD 101: Introduction to the National Lifeline Accountability Database. Recordings of past webinars, including last month's topic, "Lifeline 101," are available on the Learn: Webinars page of our website.

3/12/2018FCC Announces 2nd Quarter 2018 Contribution Factor Derease to 18.4 Percent


The FCC released a Public Notice (DA 18-234 ) announcing that the proposed universal service contribution factor for the second quarter (April - June) of 2018 will be 0.184, or 18.4 percent.

3/12/2018CSB Hours During the Last Week of the Filing Window


While we encourage applicants to complete and certify their FCC Form 471 early, we realize that last-minute questions can arise. This year, we are publishing the extra hours the Client Service Bureau (CSB) will be open during the last week of the window to allow applicants to take advantage of the opportunity to get answers to those last-minute questions.

Date CSB Open CSB Close
Saturday, March 179:00 a.m. EDT6:00 p.m. EDT
Sunday, March 189:00 a.m. EDT 6:00 p.m. EDT
Monday, March 198:00 a.m. EDT10:00 p.m. EDT
Tuesday, March 208:00 a.m. EDT10:00 p.m. EDT
Wednesday, March 21 8:00 a.m. EDT 10:00 p.m. EDT
Thursday, March 22 8:00 a.m. EDT 12:30 a.m. EDT (Friday, March 23) 
 

Generally, CSB has the highest call volumes during the following hours:

  • Weekday mornings from 11:00 a.m. through 12:30 p.m. ET
  • Weekday afternoons from 2:30 p.m. through 4:00 p.m. ET

If an agent is not able to answer when you call, please leave your telephone number at the prompt, and we will return your call as soon as possible. 

 

3/9/2018News Brief Issued


The 3/9/2018 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.

3/8/2018Newsletter for March 2018


FY2017 Funding Requests: Update Coming Soon

In upcoming weeks, you will receive an update about your FY2017 funding commitment from the RHC Program. To ensure you receive all communications regarding your FY2017 funding request, please check your spam folders and make sure that your email inbox allows messages from the RHC Program. RHC will communicate any updates via the email addresses the applicant has submitted in My Portal. FY2017 funding commitment decisions and letters have not yet been released; funding requests are still in review. This page will be updated when more information is available.

 

Recommended Submission Milestones Approaching

To ensure that you stay on track with your forms and are able to submit your funding request before the FY2018 filing window closes, USAC has developed recommended submission milestones for all HCF and Telecom program forms. These milestones account for both the minimum competitive bidding time required under RHC Program rules and time for USAC review:

  • For individual HCPs and consortia in the HCF Program using an RFP: we recommend submitting your FCC Form 460 by March 14 and your FCC Form 461 by April 1.
  • For individual HCPs and consortia in the HCF Program NOT using an RFP: we recommend submitting your FCC Form 460 by March 14 and your FCC Form 461 by April 15. 
  • For HCPs in the Telecom Program: we recommend submitting your FCC Form 465 by April 15.

Please note that these are suggested submission dates and not deadlines enforced by RHC Program rules. View all the recommended submission milestones for FY2018.

 

FY2018 Filing Window Closes May 31, 2018

The FY2018 filing window opened February 1, 2018. To be considered eligible for funding, you must submit your funding requests (FCC Forms 462 for the HCF Program and FCC Forms 466 in the Telecom Program) by the close of the window on May 31, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Funding requests submitted after May 31, 2018 will be automatically denied. View our how-to guides and tip sheets to assist you during the submission process:

Read more about funding requests:

Important Reminders for FY2018

 

New to the program? Watch RHC 101: Are you a new applicant getting ready to apply to the RHC Program? Watch our webinar “RHC 101: An Introduction to the Rural Health Care Program” to learn the basics of the HCF and Telecom programs, eligibility requirements, and how to get started. 

New Tip Sheet! Consortium Rurality Percentage Compliance: According to HCF Program rules, a consortium must be greater than 50% rural three years after the submission of the consortium’s first FCC Form 462 (funding request form). To make sure you are in compliance with program rules as your consortium’s three year deadline approaches, download this tip sheet.

 

What to Do If You Receive and Information Request: As you submit your FCC Form 462 or 466, please upload all required documentation with your forms. Forms submitted with incomplete or missing documentation cannot be reviewed, and RHC analysts will reach out to account holders with a request for additional information (an “Information Request”). RHC will also reach out with Information Requests to clarify specific items related to an application. If you receive an Information Request, you must respond to it within 14 calendar days. Once you respond, the analysts will be happy to work with you to ensure that they have all the necessary documentation to complete their review. Failure to respond in some fashion within the 14 calendar day time frame results 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 Funding Year 2018. 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

3/7/2018E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Outages Due to System Maintenance: Sunday, March 11


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) will be unavailable for two periods this Sunday, March 11 for maintenance – from 12:00 a.m. EST to 7:00 a.m. EDT (note that daylight saving time goes into effect during this period) and 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. EDT. During these times, users will be unable to log in to and use EPC. We apologize for any inconvenience.  

3/7/2018UPDATE - NLAD Intermittent Connectivity Issues


USAC has implemented fixes intended to improve system performance since notifying carriers of the intermittent connectivity issues last week. Response times have returned to normal, but we are continuing to monitor the system.    

We apologize for the inconvenience.

Questions about NLAD?

If you have any questions, contact us at NLADSupport@usac.org or (877) 524-1325.

 

3/7/20182018 FCC Form 499-A Now Available in E-File


The 2018 FCC Form 499-A (Annual Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet) is now available in E-File, USAC's online filing system. The form is due Monday, April 2, 2018.

FCC rules require all providers of telecommunications, including universal service fund de minimis exempt companies, to file 2018 FCC Form 499-A to report revenue data for the period of January 1, 2017, through December 31, 2017.

Visit our What and How to File page to learn more or view the FCC Form 499-A online user guide .

3/2/2018NLAD Intermittent Connectivity Issues


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) is continuing to experience intermittent connectivity issues. This is affecting some users' ability to perform transactions in NLAD and is causing slow response times to API requests.           

We are actively working to resolve the issue and will closely monitor the system throughout the weekend. We will send out a bulletin if the status changes over the weekend.  

We apologize for the inconvenience.

Questions about NLAD? 

If you have any questions, contact us at NLADSupport@usac.org or (877) 524-1325.

3/2/2018News Brief Issued


The 3/2/2018 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.

3/1/2018Reminder on March 5, 2018 Invoice Deadline for Program Participants Impacted by the Hurricanes


In order DA 17-984, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) provided certain relief from program deadlines for program participants impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria (Hurricanes).

Specifically, schools and libraries located in areas of Texas, Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands that have been designated as Major Disaster Areas eligible for Individual Assistance for the purposes of federal disaster relief by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have a deadline of Monday, March 5, 2018 to submit invoices if they missed or will miss their regular invoice deadline due to damage or disruption caused by the Hurricanes.

While other program forms and requests are subject to this deadline as well, applicants are reminded that they need a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to file the FCC Form 472, Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) Form. If you do not have a PIN, we will create and email you a PIN in time to file your invoice as long as we receive your request by noon EST tomorrow, March 2, 2018.

To request a PIN:
• Open a customer service case in EPC.
• Download the PIN Template from the PIN page on the USAC website, even if you only need one PIN.
• Complete a line on the template for each PIN you are requesting. Avoid adding a space at the beginning or end of each of your entries, and double-check your entries for accuracy.
• Attach the completed template to your customer service case and click Submit.

You can also call the Client Service Bureau (CSB) at 888-203-8100 for assistance.

 

3/1/2018RESOLVED - NLAD is Now Available


RESOLVED - The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) is back online and available for use.          

USAC took NLAD offline for one hour today from 1:00 PM ET to 2:00 PM ET to resolve intermittent issues.      

We apologize for the inconvenience, and thank you for your patience.

Questions about NLAD?

If you have any questions, contact us at NLADSupport@usac.org or (877) 524-1325.

  

2/28/2018NLAD Intermittent Login Disruptions


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) is experiencing intermittent login disruptions.    

USAC is working to resolve the issue, and we will communicate as soon as it has been resolved.

In the meantime, users should close any open NLAD pages and clear their browser's cache before attempting to log in to NLAD again.

If you are still unable to login, please email NLADSupport@usac.org and provide your browser and its version. Please also include if your browser uses a default setting for NLAD, if the cookies are disabled, or if any specific settings or plugins for NLAD exist.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

 

2/28/2018My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance Monday, March 5 2018


Due to maintenance being performed on Rural Health Care's My Portal system, some functionality may be unavailable from 8:00 a.m. through 10:00 a.m. ET Friday, March 2, 2018. We apologize for any inconvenience. 

2/26/2018FY2016 Extended Invoice Deadline is February 27


The 2/23/2018 issue of the News Brief announced that the extended invoice deadline for FY2017 recurring services is February 27. In fact, this is the extended invoice deadline for FY2016 recurring services. The online issue of the SL News Brief has been corrected.

2/26/2018My Portal Outage Due To System Maintenance Tuesday, February 27, 2018


Rural Health Care's My Portal will be unavailable from 9:00 p.p. through 11:00 p.m. ET Tuesday February 27, 2018 due to system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for health care providers or service providers. We apologize for any inconvenience.

2/23/2018News Brief Issued


The 2/23/2018 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.

2/22/2018My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance: Friday, February 23 through Saturday, February 24 2018


Rural Health Care's My Portal will be unavailable from 6:00 PM ET on Friday, February 23rd, 2018 through 12:00 p.m. ET Saturday, February 24, 2018 due to system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for health care providers or service providers. We apologize for any inconvenience.

2/21/2018Legacy System Outage Due to System Maintenance - February 23-24


The Schools and Libraries (E-rate) Program legacy systems will be unavailable from 6:00 PM ET on Friday, February 23 through 10:00 AM ET Saturday, February 24 for system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to file invoices and use some of the search tools. We apologize for any inconvenience.

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

2/21/2018NLAD 3.13.0 Production and Pre-Production Release & Rescheduled System Maintenance Friday, Feb. 23


NLAD 3.13.0 Production and Pre-Production Release        

NLAD version 3.13.0 was released into the production environment today, February 21.        

In this release, NLAD users are no longer able to provide Benefit Qualifying Person (BQP) information when the subscriber personally qualifies for Lifeline. Users will receive an error if data entered into the BQP fields exactly matched the information entered into the subscriber fields. This functionality was previously released into the pre-production environment.        

In addition, USAC's TPIV service was turned back on in the pre-production environment after it was temporarily disabled for testing the new Lifeline Claims System.        

New API Error Code Added        

  • SUBSCRIBER_BQP_MATCH: The subscriber, and the BQP cannot be the same.                

Rescheduled System Maintenance Friday, February 23        

The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable due to scheduled system maintenance starting Friday, February 23 at 10 p.m. until Saturday, February 24 at 2 a.m. ET.        

The NLAD pre-production and production environments will not be available for use during this time.        

For a full calendar list of scheduled maintenance, visit the Maintenance Schedule page on the Lifeline Program website.

Questions about NLAD?

If you have any questions, contact us at NLADSupport@usac.org or (877) 524-1325.

 

2/20/2018FCC Announces Availability of Challenge Process Access Request Form


On February 14, 2018, the FCC announced (DA 18-142) the availability of the web-based form that participants in the Mobility Fund Phase II (MF-II) challenge process must use to request access to the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) challenge process portal.   The access request form is now available at www.fcc.gov/MF2-Challenge-Portal/form.

2/20/2018Universal Forms for the Lifeline Program Beginning July 1, 2018


On February 20, 2018, the FCC released Public Notice DA 18-161, which provides guidance about using universal forms for the Lifeline Program. Lifeline service providers are required to use the universal forms beginning July 1, 2018

The universal forms, FCC Form 5629 (Lifeline application form), FCC Form 5630 (Lifeline annual recertification form), and FCC Form 5631 (Lifeline Program household worksheet) are available on the Lifeline Program Forms page.      
  

2/20/2018Production Release of Lifeline Claims System (LCS) Version 2.1.0


LCS version 2.1.0 was released into the NLAD Production environment today, February 20.

In this release, a Filing History tab was added that allows ETCs to access their certified Lifeline Claims Worksheet PDFs.  

  • Includes original and revised claims  

LCS users that have both NLAD and NLAD opt-out states' SACs will need to submit original filings and revisions for each data set in LCS. 

Please refer to the instructions, which are 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 (please refer to the bulletin sent on 2/20 for the E-File entitlements and corresponding landing page). 

Questions about LCS?

If you have questions, contact us at Form497@usac.org.

  

2/19/2018FCC to Hold Workshop on CAFII Auction


On March 14, 2018, the FCC will host a workshop on the application process for the Connect America Fund Phase II (CAF II) auction. This workshop will include detailed information about the CAF II auction application system. For more details see DA 18-130.

2/16/2018News Brief Issued


The 2/16/2018 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.

2/16/2018System Maintenance Rescheduled to Friday, February 23


System maintenance will not occur as scheduled tonight (February 16, 2018). The system maintenance is rescheduled to Friday, February 23 at 10 p.m. until Saturday, February 24 at 2 a.m. ET.

For full calendar list of scheduled maintenance, visit the Maintenance Schedule page on the Lifeline Program website.

Questions about NLAD?

If you have any questions, contact us at NLADSupport@usac.org or (877) 524-1325.

2/15/2018Lifeline Program Newsletter - February 2018


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

February Headlines:

  • Lifeline Claims System Now Available
  • 2018 Federal Poverty Guidelines Published
  • Port Freeze Will Be Eliminated on March 19
  • Hurricane Relief Extended for Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands 
  • New Videos about the Lifeline Program
  • Rule Clarifications Effective on February 15
  • Common Audit Finding: Claiming Duplicative Support
  • Webinar on March 14: NLAD 101 - Introduction to the National Lifeline Accountability Database

2/8/2018News Brief Issued


The 2/9/2018 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.

2/8/2018NLAD 3.12.0 Pre-Production Release


NLAD version 3.12.0 has been released into the pre-production environment today, Thursday, February 8, 2018.

In this release, NLAD users are no longer able to provide Benefit Qualifying Person (BQP) information when the subscriber personally qualifies for Lifeline. Users will receive an error if data entered into the BQP fields exactly matches the information entered into the subscriber fields.        

New API Error Code Added  

  • SUBSCRIBER_BQP_MATCH: The subscriber, and the BQP cannot be the same.

Questions about NLAD?

If you have any questions, contact us at NLADSupport@usac.org or (877) 524-1325.

   

2/7/2018Same-Month Reimbursement Payment Deadline Extended to February 12


The early payment deadline for filing Lifeline reimbursement claims has been extended to Monday, February 12 (deadline is usually the 8th of the month) for the January 2018 data month (February 1 snapshot).

Service providers cannot use FCC Form 497 for the January 2018 data month or later.

2/7/2018E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Outages Due to System Maintenance: Sunday, February 11


The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) will be unavailable from 3:00-7:00 a.m. and from 7:00-8:00 p.m. ET, Sunday, February 11 for monthly system maintenance. During this time, users will be unable to log in to and use EPC. We apologize for any inconvenience.

2/6/2018My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance: Thursday, February 22, 2018


Rural Health Care’s My Portal will be unavailable from 9:00 PM through 11:00 PM ET on Thursday, February 22nd, 2018 due to system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for health care providers or service providers. We apologize for any inconvenience

2/5/2018Hurricane Relief Waiver Extended for Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands


The FCC extended its temporary waiver of the Lifeline Program’s recertification rules in Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) through April 30, 2018 in Order DA 18-102 (release February 2, 2018).

2/2/2018News Brief Issued


The 2/2/2018 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.

2/1/2018Newsletter for February 2018


Update on FY2017 Commitments

FY2017 funding commitment decisions and letters have not yet been released; funding requests are still in review. This page will be updated when more information is available. Note: Any applicants seeking funding in FY2018 must submit funding requests. Be sure to submit during the FY2018 filing window (February 1 - May 31, 2018). 

 

FY2018 Filing Window Open Now!

The FY2018 filing window opens today, February 1, 2018. To be considered eligible for funding, you must submit your funding requests (FCC Forms 462 for the HCF Program and FCC Forms 466 in the Telecom Program) by the close of the window on May 31, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Funding requests submitted after May 31, 2018 will be automatically denied. View our latest how-to guides and tip sheets to assist you during the submission process:

Were these resources helpful? Let us know what you think by completing this short survey.

Read more about funding requests:

Important Reminders for FY2018

 

Rural Rate Documentation in the Telecom Program

We have received some questions surrounding who can provide documentation to USAC regarding the rural rate calculation. Please keep in mind, HCPs are ultimately responsible for ensuring that all required information in support of their applications is included in the funding request submission. USAC strongly advises that all required documentation, including information in support of the rural rate calculation, accompany an application when filed to USAC. However, if the service provider deems such information proprietary or confidential, and therefore cannot provide this required documentation to the HCP for filing with USAC, the service provider can submit those documents directly to USAC. Please see further down for instructions.

If the HCP does not submit the rural rate documentation to USAC, USAC will issue an Information Request to the HCP. More details on Information Requests are below in the next section. The HCP then has the responsibility to forward that Information Request to their service provider, at which point the service provider can then reply to the Information Request directly to USAC with the relevant documents, making sure to include the funding request number (FRN) for which they are submitting.

When submitting Information Request responses to USAC, the service provider must

  • Inform the HCP and USAC that they are submitting on behalf of the applicant,
  • Clearly communicate which FRN the submitted documentation corresponds to, and
  • Ensure the submitted documentation addresses all portions of the rural rate question.

Information Requests

As we move into FY2018, the RHC Program staff wants to provide you with the resources and information necessary to submit complete and accurate forms successfully. An important reminder as you submit your FCC Form 462 or 466, please upload all required documentation with your forms. Forms submitted with incomplete or missing documentation cannot be reviewed, and RHC reviewers will reach out to account holders with a request for additional information (an “Information Request”). RHC will also reach out with Information Requests to clarify specific items related to an application. 

If you receive an Information Request, you must respond to it within 14 calendar days. An acceptable response is either (1) the information requested or (2) a request for an extension. If the information requested is submitted to USAC by the service provider please follow the previously stated guidance above. Once you respond, the reviewers will be happy to work with you to ensure that they have all the necessary documentation to complete their review. Failure to respond in some fashion within the 14 calendar day timeframe results in an automatic denial, so be sure to respond in a timely manner! Note: If the service provider submits the information requested to USAC, please follow the previously stated guidance above.)

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 Funding Year 2018. 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.

Have an expired TPA and have questions on what to do?

Have an expired LOA and have questions on what to do?

  • Please upload the updated LOA within My Portal. Please see this submission guide for instructions. 

 

FY2018 Contracts

For either the HCF or Telecom programs--as you go through the competitive bidding process and select your service provider, make sure that you are meeting the appropriate contract requirements for the type of funding you are seeking (i.e., single year, multi-year, evergreen contract), and that the contract is signed by both the HCP/consortium and service provider.

FCC Notice of Proposed Rule Making Comment Period Ends February 2

The FCC published their proposed rule in the Federal Register on January 3, 2018. Anyone can submit a comment to the FCC on this proposed rule. The comment period ends February 2, 2018, with reply comments due March 5, 2018. Please see this link for more information.

Contract & Consortia Resources Coming Soon!

The RHC Program team is working to create helpful guides regarding the contract submission process and how-to sheets for HCF Program consortia. Do you have a particular topic you’d like more information on? Let us know!

2/1/2018Lifeline Claims System (LCS) Now Available!


The Lifeline Claims System (LCS) is now available in the NLAD production environment. Service providers can log in to submit their reimbursement claims for the January 2018 data month (February 1, 2018 snapshot).

Service providers cannot use FCC Form 497 for the January 2018 data month or later.

For help with the LCS, join us for Office Hours (Feb. 2 or Feb. 6), review the LCS User Guide, visit the Claim Reimbursement page, or review the frequently asked questions (FAQs)

1/30/2018Lifeline Claims System (LCS) Production Release Version 2.0.0


The Lifeline Claims System (LCS) will be unavailable on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 from 10 a.m. to noon ET.        

LCS version 2.0.0 will be released into the NLAD Production environment during this outage. The available snapshot test data for the November 2017 and December 2017 months will also be discarded during this time.        

The Lifeline Claims System will be available at 10 a.m. ET on Thursday, February 1, 2018.        

Starting with the January 2018 data month (February 1, 2018 snapshot), all service providers must use the new Lifeline Claims System (LCS) to file for reimbursement online.        

For the December 2017 data month (January 1, 2018 snapshot) and earlier, service providers should use the FCC Form 497 for reimbursement claims and revisions.        

LCS includes the following functionalities for NLAD states and NLAD opt-out states:        

1. File "Original Claim" and "Revise Claim" functionality (applicable to the 497 Officer and the 497 User)        

  • Download the claims input template  
  • Upload a subscriber data file  
  • Download a detailed summary report  
  • Ability to set "Original" Filings as "Ready to Certify" for the 497 Officer to certify    

2. "Certify Claim" functionality for NLAD Opt-Out States (applicable to the 497 Officer)        

  • Ability to certify "Original" and "Revised" filings         

LCS users that have both NLAD and NLAD opt-out states' SACs will need to submit original filings and revisions for each data set in LCS.         

Please refer to the instructions, which are also available in the Lifeline Claims System, and the LCS Upload Field Description document (found in the bulletin sent on 1/30/18) 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.         

E-File Entitlements        

497 Officer: 497 Officer home page - National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD)    

497 User: File or Revise Claim page - Lifeline Claims System (LCS)

Questions about LCS?

If you have questions about LCS, please contact us at Form497@usac.org.

  

1/29/2018FCC Form 555 Due January 31


The 2017 FCC Form 555 (Annual Lifeline ETC Certification Form) is due Wednesday, January 31, 2018 to USAC, the FCC (Docket 14-171), and state regulatory commissions.            

     Log in now: Online FCC Form 555 (USAC recommends using Chrome or Firefox)        
     Need help? See the resources below or contact us      
     E-File login help: customersupport@usac.org or (888) 641-8722    
                                           
FCC Form 555 Resources              

Visit the Lifeline Program website to find these FCC Form 555 resources:  

Changes This Year              

The 2017 filing (due January 31, 2018) has several notable changes since last year's filing:   

  • Report recertification results by month, based on the subscriber's anniversary date. The form is re-designed to match the new rolling recertification process. Fields that are not required (recertification for anniversary dates in January to June) will be grayed out.  
  • File online only: Service providers must use the E-File system to submit their filing; other submission types (mail, email, fax) will not be accepted.  
  • New look and feel: The online form includes "tool tips" to guide users through the filing, and user-friendly navigation.  
  • Accounting for hurricane relief: Affected disaster areas in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Florida, and Georgia should follow the hurricane relief guidance: submit their filing by the deadline, and submit a revision once their recertification efforts are complete.  
  • Note for filers in California: The requirements to file FCC Form 555 have not changed. It is the service providers' responsibility to file, and not the state administrators'. We have communicated with the CPUC; it is our understanding that service providers have the information they need.   
  • Note for filers in Texas: If you don't have the data you need from the state administrator, please submit your filing by the January 31 deadline with whatever data you have. Then, submit a revision once the state administrator provides the data you need.     

Need Help? Contact Us!

For questions about FCC Form 555, please contact us at Form555@usac.org.  

  

1/26/2018News Brief Issued


The 1/26/2018 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.

1/26/2018FCC Form 555 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


FCC Form 555 is due January 31 to USAC, the FCC, and state regulatory commissions. 

A list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) is available to assist with your filing. Additional resources are available as well:

1/25/2018FCC Form 555 Data for California and Texas Filers


California service providers: We have communicated with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and the requirement to file FCC Form 555 has not changed. It is the service provider's responsibility to file FCC Form 555, and not the state administrators'.

It is our understanding from the CPUC that service providers have the information they need to file FCC Form 555. Please stay tuned for more information from the CPUC.

Texas service providers: If you don't have the data you need from the state administrator, please submit your filing by the January 31 deadline with whatever data you have. Then, submit a revision once the state administrator provides the data you need.

1/25/2018Funding Request Guides Available Now!


Did you know that the funding request filing window for Funding Year 2018 opens February 1, 2018? Submit your funding requests (FCC Forms 462 for the HCF Program and FCC Forms 466 in the Telecom Program) by the close of the window on May 31, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Here are some how-to guides and tip sheets that can assist you during the submission process:

  • Funding requests summary two pager: What is a funding request? How do I submit it? (Also includes a submission checklist.)
  • Funding Request Best Practices Webinar (held Jan. 10th): webinar recording, slides, and FAQs.
  • Quick guide for FY2017 applicants: Did you apply for funding in FY2017 but are unsure which forms to submit for FY2018? Our quick look-up chart tells you what forms you need to submit based on your situation. Applicable for both HCF and Telecom programs.
  • Your urban/rural rate: a guide on aceptable supporting documentation (for Telecom Program only). 

Read more about funding requests, which applicants must submit to USAC between February 1 and May 31, 2018 in order to be considered eligible for funding:


1/22/2018New Videos Now Available in the Online Learning Library


The following videos have been added to the Online Learning Library: