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 January 8, 2014 service provider call include:
December 2014 Commitments
E-File Security Update
USAC has made some changes to the password policy for the E-File system which affect all users. If a user enters an incorrect password three times in a row, the account will now be locked out for a period of 24 hours. Accounts can be unlocked by a company officer contacting USAC’s customer service hotline at 888-641-8722. In addition, passwords now require a minimum of eight characters, including one special character and one capital letter. Users will also be prompted to change their passwords throughout the year, and old passwords cannot be reused until at least five new passwords have been used.
FY2014 Filing Window
The Funding Year 2014 Form 471 filing window will officially open at noon EST on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, and will close at 11:59 pm EDT on Wednesday, March 26, 2014. USAC indicated that they have already received approximately half of the Forms 470 that they expect to be filed for FY2014. The last date that a Form 470 may be posted while still allowing 28 days for competitive bidding will be February 26.
Applicants are reminded that they must click “Submit” when using USAC’s online Item 21 Attachment system. If only “Save and Exit” is clicked, the Item 21 will not be submitted to USAC and will not be viewable by service providers in E-file.
Payments for the month of December totaled $180,443,231.71 against 226.3M in requests. USAC processed 10,622 invoices for 1,431 service providers, representing 35,698 lines. 91% of invoices were paid within 30 days. 2,303 lines were in process as of January 8.
Top five reasons for invoice rejection in December:
1. Duplicate billing
2. Total commitment paid
3. Billed outside funding year
4. No Form 486 filed
5. No response
USAC reminded service providers that the Form 500 has been updated and now includes the ability to request service delivery deadline extensions. The Form 500 must be submitted by applicants, so vendors are no longer able to request service delivery deadline extensions. Vendors are encouraged to work with their customers to provide the necessary information for the extension request. Failure to include a description of the reason for the extension request will cause a delay in the decision.
USAC is being audited, and as a part of the audit applicants and service providers may be asked to verify the amount invoiced to USAC in Funding Year 2013. The request will arrive via e-mail from DP George or Carney and Associates, and will include a figure from USAC’s records indicating the amount invoiced to USAC for Funding Year 2013. Applicants and service providers are requested to check the figure against their records and respond to verify accuracy or provide information if a discrepancy is identified.
- USAC indicated that web hosting and e-mail are eligible “cloud” services in the Priority 1 funding categories. Because Internal Connections are defined “components located at the applicant’s site,” cloud services do not qualify in the Priority 2 categories because they are not applicant-premise components.
- USAC stated that they cannot advise applicants or service providers regarding contract terms or language. Upfront payments may not used for the purposes of increasing a vendor’s cash flow, but may be allowed under certain business cases if contracts specifically identify upfront invoicing terms.
- Several attendees inquired about arrangements where service providers offer to pay an applicant’s early termination fee if the applicant changes vendors. USAC requested that the questions be sent in for discussion on the next call.
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.