In a Public Notice, the FCC announced that disbursements made under all Universal Service programs–including the E-rate program–will be transitioning to an eletronic-only format. This change will affect E-rate service providers who currently receive disbursements via paper check for Forms 473 (SPI) and 472 (BEAR).The move does not affect how reimbursements are issued to E-rate applicants from service providers.
Beginning this fall, when the revised FCC Form 498 is released, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau will announce additional details regarding a timeline for the transition to all electronic disbursements. It has been indicated that payments will not be made to service providers who have not provided ACH information for electronic transfers of payments.
In its Public Notice, the FCC said that moving to electronic funds transfer of USF payments will reduce costs and help eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse from the program.