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Groups Request EPC Fixes, More Time

The State of Wisconsin, the American Library Association and other groups have requested that the FCC roll back the FY2016 E-rate filing deadline. There has been growing concern within the applicant community that roadblocks created by USAC’s new EPC system are hindering, and, in some cases, prohibiting schools, libraries and consortia from applying for E-rate discounts this year.

In Wisconsin’s letter to the FCC, State CIO David Cagigal requested “that once the USAC EPC portal has been updated, {the State} be given two-and-a-half months from that point on to file our consortium Form 471…” Other stakeholders have submitted similar requests, including proposals for a filing window period that starts after final development of the EPC system and/or a staggering of filing window deadlines to account for the interdependent nature of the EPC applications (i.e. schools file first, then libraries, and last, but not least, consortia.)

The FCC is expected to make its decision soon.

EPC Update

Below is a list of additional EPC items currently being encountered by users. These are in addition to items highlighted last week in “EPC Frustrations Mounts”.

  • Entity Issues Cause Form 471 Redo and Delay. Site issues must be corrected with USAC prior to any application preparation. If an application is started prior to any site issues being resolved, USAC advices applicants to delete the 471 application(s) in progress and wait to prepare a new form until the site issues can be resolved by the CSB.

  • New BENs Required for Old Sites. If USAC did not properly import an existing site into EPC than an applicant must request a new Billed Entity Number (BEN) for the site. Note: the current USAC site search tool will display the original BEN; however, the original BEN will not work in EPC.

  • USAC Form 471 Download Integrity Issue. Service Providers and applicants report that there is a data integrity issue with the Form 470 numbers provided in the new Download 471 Information (FY2016) tool on the USAC website. For approximately 34% of funding requests there is a discrepancy between the Form 470 referenced on the PDF copy of the Form 471 versus the data download file.

  • Form 470 Shows Zero Eligible Entities. After submitting a Form 470 application, the form may report an incorrect count of zero eligible entities in a school or library system. USAC reports this as a “known issue.” Service providers should look at prior year Form 470s to estimate an applicant’s site count.

  • Bulk Upload File Not “Validated”. After a 15 day hiatus, new Bulk Upload Templates were made available this week. When uploading the new file for processing, many users reported receiving an error that the filed had not been “validated”. Other users report errors when trying to reduce data entry by copying and pasting data into the template. USAC has not provided instructions for using the templates.

  • Password Reset Delays. Users who require a password reset are being informed that it may take up to 3 business days to send an account administrator the required reset information. Until the reset information is received, the user will be unable to use the EPC system.

  • Admin Account Must Self-Assign Full Rights. The EPC Account Administer for an applicant may not, themselves, have full rights to access and certify forms. The administrator should check their own user permission settings and adjust them appropriately.

  • Form 471 RAL Corrections Not Electronic. The Receipt Acknowledgement Letter (RAL) provides applicants with the opportunity to correct ministerial and clerical errors in a posted Form 471. Although the RAL is available via EPC, applicants are advised to submit RAL corrections through the CSB and not through EPC at this time.

  • Submit a Question Outage. The USAC “Submit a Question” tool was off-line for a period of time beginning, Friday April 1, 2016. Users who are not setup in EPC cannot submit a question through EPC.

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