USAC’s Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) hosts monthly Service Provider conference calls, providing information and guidance for vendors participating in the E-rate program. Here are highlights from the June 1, 2016 service provider webinar:

Funding Commitments for FY2015 and FY2014
Three FY15 waves since last call totaling $31.3 million and one for FY14 totaling $173,000

Schedule of Service Provider Calls (Weekly Touch-base Calls v. Monthly Webinars)
Weekly touch-base calls are every Tuesday at noon.They are used to gather information and for Service Providers to provide their feedback & input. Last week there was a demo on how the FCDL function works within EPC. The new electronic file format will mirror the legacy format with a few exceptions. Based on feedback received, the consultant field has been removed and the telephone three (3) digit area code has been separated from the rest of the seven (7) digit telephone number. The FCDL electronic file is now being generated automatically.

Invoicing Update
$271,622,878.46 processed in May. This represents 11,970 invoices and 47,294 lines. 92% completed in 30 days. The top five reasons for invoicing to be rejected are:

  1. Duplicate invoicing
  2. SPIN/FRN combo invalid
  3. Total commitment amount already paid
  4. Invalid 471 number/FRN combo
  5. Service substitution issues

The Form 473 will be available online July 1, 2016 in the E-File section, same location as the online BEAR and can cover all Funding Years. The FY16 certifications have changed so paper certifications will no longer be accepted for FY16 and proceeding years. For FY15 and before, paper forms will still be accepted. As of July 1, 2016 the invoicing process will no longer be a paper process for FY16 and proceeding Funding Years, all will be processed online. The Form 474, ISR and Remittance Statements are essentially the same with the exception of the certifications.

As of July 2016 all old online BEAR requests will be canceled. The Service Provider will no longer certify the BEAR Forms. However, the access and tracking of these forms will remain the same. Service Providers are encouraged to note any discrepancy on what was paid by the customer to ensure only paid services are on a BEAR Form.

There will be no Service Provider payment pass through after July 1st, 2016. However, any BEAR that has already been approved will use the current process for payment.

Funding Commitment Decision Letter Process
FCDL will no longer be mailed but instead delivered through EPC. Waves will be run once a week. If the Service Provider has any FRNs in the Wave an email will be sent to the General Contact of each SPIN. All users who have rights to the SPIN will see the FCDL notification on the top of their Landing Page. This notification is a link to the News Feed that has the actual FCDL. Within the FCDL there are three files attached:

  1. FCDL supplement in a PDF format. This is what you currently get. This will not change.
  2. CSV file which replaces the FRN Report, if you received the paper report in the past.
  3. FSP file which is the electronic notification file. You no longer have to sign up for this file, all Service Providers will receive it.

Other
Registration has closed for the trainings in Atlanta and Los Angeles

Q&A
Q: If a service provider offers a 100MB Internet access connection, including a channelized T1 for voice calls within that 100MB circuit, would only the cost of the channelized T1 be subject to the voice phase down or would the entire cost of the connection be subject to the phase down? In this example, only the channelized T1 would be used for voice services.
A: This has been tabled for now in order to get the right answer.

Q: If a service provider has invoiced the applicant and has already been paid via SPI by USAC for an FRN, and then the applicant subsequently returns some of the product, how does the service provider notify USAC of the return/credit and pay back the portion of E-rate funds pertaining to the returned equipment?
A: Search for Returning Funds on the USAC website to get the answer and instructions to follow.

Q: An FRN Status field has been added to the FRN tab on the View/Download FCC Forms 471 for FY2016. Will this field be updated when the FCDL is issued? Is this report essentially a replacement for the DRT for the time being? If so, will other data points not currently present be added?
A: This field has always been there but now it is being populated. Currently working on a DRT like tool for FY16 going forward. FY15 and previous years will use the current DRT tool.  It will be another month before this new tool is ready. It will have more information plus all the current info/fields in the DRT tool. 

Q: When will the online Form 473 SPAC be available to file for FY2016?
A: July 1st 2016

Note: The summary above is not the official minutes from the webinar, but simply notes from Funds For Learning. The official minutes for this webinar can be found here and archived call notes can be found here.