The universal service Schools and Libraries Program, commonly known as the E-rate Program, helps ensure that schools and libraries can obtain high-speed Internet access and telecommunications at affordable rates. E-rate related questions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the Learning Infrastructure Coordinator at 804-786-9281. You can also call the USAC Client Services Bureau for help at 888-203-8100.
Step 1: Competitive Bidding
- Filing FCC Form 470-This is a PDF document. (PDF) Deadlines: The FCC Form 470 must be posted to the USAC website at least 28 days before the close of the application filing window for the funding year in order for it to be cited on a timely filed FCC Form 471.
- November 17, 2016 webinar, topics include: FCC Form 470 and the mini-bid process for 2017, suggested timeline for Form 470
- December 8, 2016 webinar-This is a PowerPoint Presentation. (PPT), topics include: How to use USAC Tools, filing the FCC Form 486, mini-bid process with service provider email contacts, and Cat 2 budget.
Step 2: Selecting Service Providers
- Mini-bid process (recommended deadline: end of February 2017)
- Bid Template (XLS)
- Bid Evaluation Template (Word)
- 2017 VITA State Master Contracts for Category 1 and Category 2
- Vendor Contact List on State Master Contracts (XLS)
- VITA Broadband Zip Code Search
- Mini-Bid Email Template Letter (Word)
- RFP Tips and Samples
Step 3: Applying for Discounts
- Filing the FCC Form 471-This is a PDF document. (PDF) – For Funding Year 2107, the 471 “window” has not yet been set, but USAC knows the window will not open prior to February 1, and will not close earlier than March 31 – thus hinting at a 60-day window. This is about 10-15 days shorter than previous years (last year was an anomaly because of EPC issues), but USAC believes that because you can enter the discount data and contract records in EPC prior to the window opening, the actual application window doesn’t have to be as long. Also, the earlier the window closes, the sooner you will receive funding commitments!
- Planning: be sure to have all of your contracts taken to your board at their February meeting, if possible, with the March meeting being a fallback option.
- Virginia Public School Authority (VPSA) documentation to use as match for special construction
- States With Eligible State Match Funding for Special Construction
- VSPA Grant Allocations for E-rate
Step 4: Application Review
Step 5: Starting Services
- Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDL)
- Instructions for filing FCC Form 486-This is a PDF document. (PDF) (Deadline:120 days after notice of funding, due after receipt of your FCDL). For Form 498 help call 888-641-8722, M-F, 9:30a.m. - 4:30p.m.
Step 6: Invoicing
- Instructions for filing FCC Form 472 BEAR-This is a PDF document. (PDF) (Billed Entity Application Reimbursement)
- Filing the FCC Form 498-This is a PDF document. (PDF)
- BEAR Invoicing System
Federal Communications (FCC) & Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) Information
- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) creates the regulations for Universal Service. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 is on this site as well as Universal Service regulations, changes and reports on FCC decisions related to discounts.
- The Universal Services Administrative Company (USAC) is an independent not-for-profit designated by the FCC. USAC administers the Universal Service Fund, almost $10 billion available annually to the companies and institutions that make universal service possible.
- USAC Weekly News Briefs
USAC Tools & Other Information
- E-rate Year-at-a-Glance Spreadsheet (2015, 2016, 2017) -This is an Excel file. (Excel)
- Search for Billed Entity Number (BEN) Information
- Urban/Rural Lookup Tool
- 2017 Eligible Services List
- Cat 2 Calculator (XLS)
- 2016 Applicant Training – Washington, DC
- Online Learning Library – Form filing videos and recorded websites
- Category 2 Estimator (Individual School)
- Category 2 Estimator (School Division)
- E-rate Central
- Funds For Learning (FFL)