USAC's Schools and Libraries Division hosts monthly service provider conference calls, providing information and guidance for vendors participating in the E-rate program. Highlights from the September 11, 2013 service provider call include:

Funding commitments:

SLD Funding Commitments Since Last Vendor Call
Funds For Learning Analysis (as of September 12, 2013)

The online BEAR is now available. Only the FCC Form 472 featuring the July 2013 date may be accepted as valid request for discount reimbursement on billed applicant reimbursement form invoices. The paper form is available on the USAC website, but the online BEAR and SPI are now functional online as well. All forms are now functional online and are now using the FCC approved forms.

Invoicing:
Payments for the month of August totaled: $157,240,520.12 against requests for $213.8 million; Invoices were submitted by nearly 1,520 service providers and 96% were processed within 30 days. This represents 30,617 lines with 96% being completed in 30 days; 2,160 lines in process as of Sept 9th.

Top reasons for denials:

Total commitment paid  

SPIN not registered

No form 486 filed

Billing date outside funding year

Invalid 471 or FR

Deadline for filing invoices for recurring services is Oct. 28th.
If more time is needed after September 30th to deliver non-recurring services, service providers should consider filing a service deadline extension request. These must be received by Sept. 30th by FCC rule.

All of the USAC Applicant trainings have been closed for this fall and they are working through the waiting list at this time. By the end of the week if you are registered and have ended up on a waiting list, you should know by email if you will be admitted to the trainings by the end of next week.

Q&A
The SLD received a question inquiring about E-rate rules or guidelines that prevent a client from upgrading bandwidth to a higher rate if there is no impact to the original funding amount for that year and the contract allows for change. The SLD advised that it has to start with the competitive bidding process and the applicant has to indicate that they are wanting a certain bandwidth speed and once their SP has been selected, they have to indicate that they are looking for a certain bandwidth speed on the 470 and once they have selected their service provider during the competitive bidding process, the contract also needs to indicate that the band width range is listed.

USAC is looking into Download 470 Information tool on the USAC website where a column labeled “Contact Area Code” (column 40) in the CSV file is blank. The best way to handle a system problem is to call 1-888-203-8100 and report the problem to the client service bureau.

USAC will eventually look into updating of the Form 472 (BEAR) Notification Letter to include the “Applicant Remittance Information”, aka Item 27 on Block 4 on the revised Form 472 (BEAR). Currently, the applicant remittance information can be found in the online system on the certification screen.

The gift rules apply PER funding year, so current activity would not affect a 2010 project, however it is important for people to note the very specific rules regarding gifting. See FCC order DA10-2355.

USAC advised that there is no information yet on the Priority 2 funding threshold for 2013.

Note: The information above is not the official minutes from the call, but simply notes from Funds For Learning. The official minutes for this call, as well as call minutes from previous months, can be found here.