The Commission held a CORES scoped pilot launch from April 29, 2016 to August 31, 2016 to solicit feedback from the CORES user community on the changes implemented in the updated CORES System. The Pilot Program was directed towards businesses/government entities that have a significant number of registered FRNs associated with a single Employer Identification Number (EIN) and the top Regulatory Fee payers by FRN. Specific FRN owners were contacted and invited to participate in the Pilot Program by the Office of the Managing Director during the progression of the Pilot Program.
CORES Pilot Program Questions
During the scope of the CORES Pilot Program and since the updated CORES System has gone live, we have received much useful feedback from users. Below, we summarized some of the most common questions asked by users and included the responses provided by the CORES Team.
Q: As the owner of an FCC licensing company, if my email address changes, potentially thousands of FRNs would have to be updated to reflect this change. Is there a way for the FCC to transfer an update like this to all of those FRNs, or would one of my employees have to update all of the associated FRNs? It is likely that the FRN would not get updated until the license was worked on again - which could take years. In the meantime, if someone requested Administrator rights to an FRN, their request would go unanswered. That seems unfair to them.
What if another FCC licensing company either will not give access to my FRN request or just ignores the request? Would I have to call the CORES Help Desk every time this happens? Also, is there any reprimand planned for repeat offenders?
A: Regarding your first question about globally updating an email address, the CORES system does not currently support this, but we will log your suggestion for a future improvement to the system. In the meantime, if you find yourself faced with an arduous task such as this, we suggest that you contact the hotline and ask that they relay your request to the technical support staff. Although there is no feature for you to make a global update of email addresses, our technical staff may be able to do this update for you.
Any email notifications sent through the CORES System will be sent to the email address associated with the FCC Username Account, not the email address associated with the FRN. If you update the email address associated with your Username Account, then any requests to associate to an FRN for which you are the Administrator will be sent to your email address. Therefore, although the FRN registration information should be kept up-to-date for record-keeping purposes, the email provided for a particular FRN will not be used by the CORES System for email notifications.
Currently, you need FCC staff to intervene and reset the FRN's PSQ on your behalf. With the new Username method of accessing an FRN, you would similarly need the FCC staff to intervene and associate your Username to the FRN in question. FCC staff would continue to use the same methods to verify that you are authorized to have access to the FRN. You may then need to disassociate Usernames who no longer should have access to the FRN in question and, when you do so, they will be notified of the disassociation via email.
Q: What happens with existing FRNs that do not have an Administrator?
How do we know if there were any FRN Association Requests?
If there are numerous parties granted an Administer permission level, would any new access requests go to all Administrators? Will all need to consent? Is there a hierarchy?
It seems like anyone can be the first to register as an Administrator and then have control of an FRN. This first person may not necessarily be the individual that the licensee wants. Also, I see the situation where a licensee has a law firm or engineer designated as the Administrator. As time goes on, they may want to use another firm and may not want the first firm to know right away that they are bringing someone else on board. If FRN Association Requests are sent to the first firm, that may be not be ideal. I have many clients that want us to do all FCC work for them and do not want to be involved in being the Administrator, so designating the client in addition to our firm may not work.
What if the Administrator leaves without disassociating himself? Who would have the power to override the system?
Is this archived for future viewing?
Is there a written version with PowerPoint slides?
A: At this time, there are no changes to how you would log into other FCC systems and how you associate resources (applications, licenses, etc.) to FRNs. Even after the current version of the CORES system goes down (scheduled for September 30, 2016), other FCC systems will continue to support an FRN and Password login for the time being. Therefore, you will be able to continue using existing FRNs with no Administrator the same way as you have before. Eventually, individual FCC systems will switch to an FCC Username login, rather than an FRN login. At that point, you will be prompted to create an FCC Username Account. By inviting you to participate in the updated CORES Pilot Program, we are giving you the opportunity to have a head start in registering for a Username Account and associating your FRNs to that account.
There are two means by which you would be notified if someone were to send an FRN Association Request for an FRN of which you are an Administrator. In this system, there is a page titled “Manage FRNs.” Amongst other things, this page has an “Access Requests” tab in which all FRN Association Requests for your FRNs are listed and you have the option to approve or reject the requests. You will also receive emails notifying you of these requests. All Administrators of an FRN (of which there can be multiple) will receive an email notification and will have the ability to view the requests. Right now, only one Administrator needs to confirm the request. There are different permission levels that can be granted to an FRN, but all users with an “Administrator” permission level will have the same ability to grant FRN Association Requests.
Our expectation is that companies will establish the appropriate Administrator on their own. If that does not happen, then our Help Desk staff can help resolve any disputes. Currently, we have not accounted for a scenario in which some users should not be visible to other users. However, we will take your feedback into consideration. We have been getting feedback from CORES Pilot users informing us that some owners of an FRN do not want to interface directly with the FCC. We will give more thought to this scenario since the current model requires that somebody has oversight over an FRN.
Currently, a sole Administrator of an FRN is not able to remove his or her access to an FRN unless another user has first been given Administrator access. However, if this transition does not occur and the sole Administrator of an FRN has left, then whoever wishes to be the new Administrator will need to contact the Help Desk. If the user is able to provide the Help Desk with the correct authentication information (similar to the current process to reset a Personal Security Question) and the old Administrator cannot be reached, then the Help Desk will provide this individual with appropriate permissions in CORES and remove the old user’s permissions to the FRN. (Note that this will be logged in case this is later disputed.)
Our past webinars were not recorded for future viewing nor does the content exist in PowerPoint slides. However, we will soon post updated CORES System instructional videos which will contain the exact same information as was included in the demo. Once these videos are available, we will notify you along with all the other CORES Pilot Program participants. Currently, if you click on the “Help” link at the bottom left of any of the pages in the updated CORES System, then you will be able to view written instructions detailing all of the information in the demo portion of the webinar. You can also access these Help files from the link below:
Q: We are a consulting firm with many clients. Sometimes we set up the FRN, and other times, the client comes with an existing FRN.
I assume when we set up the FRN for the client, we designate our permission level and their permission level.
What happens when the client has an existing FRN? Can I go in and designate the permission levels for us both as Administrators, or does the owner of the FRN need to do that?
A: Your first question was whether you are in charge of setting up permission levels when you set up the FRN for your client. Yes this is true, however, the owner of the FRN needs to have created their own FCC Username Account before you can assign them the appropriate permissions to the FRN that you have registered for.
Your second questions was whether you can assign user roles for your client’s existing FRN. You will be able to designate roles for other users with Username Accounts if you are the first one to associate to an FRN or if you have been given an Administer permission level to the FRN.
Q: You state that the Commission will implement the CORES Pilot Program commencing on April 29, 2016. The date that I received the invite was later than this date.
A: The Commission Registration System Pilot Program began April 29th, 2016. You were selected to be a part of the most recent pool of participants to be included in the Pilot Program. We invite different CORES users in various stages throughout the Pilot Program in order to ensure that we can provide more personalized interaction with and assistance for every user selected.
Q: I missed the CORES Pilot Program Webinar yesterday. Will there be another one?
A: We hold a webinar for each separate pool of CORES Pilot Program participants invited. Upon request, we can send you an invitation to any of the other scheduled webinars.
Q: I am getting the following error message: “Phone Number is Invalid. Please conform to a maximum length of 20 and allowed character set of Numbers and special characters ().+-” when attempting to create a new Username Account.
A: The reason you are getting this error message is because you put your area code in the “Country Code” field. Unless your phone number is not domestic, you can leave the “Country Code” field blank. Just type your full phone number in the “Phone Number” field.
Q: Please confirm that tomorrow’s webinar will begin at 3:00 pm Eastern Time. The confirmation from Webex.com says it starts at 2:00 pm Eastern Time.
A: The CORES Pilot Program Webinar, itself, will start at 3:00 pm ET. The WebEx link becomes available at 2:00 pm ET to allow for adequate time for us to set everything up on our end and to allow the webinar participants to log in to the WebEx event ahead of time.
Q: There appears to be a daily limit on association of existing FRNs with Usernames. There may be hundreds of Username-FRN Associations that we need to perform. We do not wish to delay these associations with our clients’ FRNs.
Also, will the Username-FRN Associations that we have set up in the CORES Pilot System carry over to the updated CORES System that will be available to the public?
A: By default, Usernames are restricted to only being able to associate 50 FRNs per day to their account. Upon request, we can lift this restriction and allow you to associate an unlimited amount of FRNs per day to your account.
Also, any work that you do in the updated CORES System for the Pilot Program will be saved to the actual CORES System that will go live to the public. This includes any FRN associations made. By participating in the CORES Pilot Program, we are giving users an opportunity to create FCC Username Accounts and do this work ahead of time.
Q: I am currently the contact for multiple FRNs. How do I designate myself to be the Administrator for these FRNs? One of the FRNs that I am the contact for represents an entity that has a second FRN and a different contact person. We would like to eliminate one of these FRNs. If one of the FRNs are eliminated, and it has been used for different filings in the past, how will the filings in the past be associated with the new filings for the same entity using a different FRN?
A: You can associate yourself to an FRN if you know the FRN-password. You can see more detailed instructions on how to do so in the link below:
If you are the first to associate your FCC Username Account to these FRNs, then that will also make you the default Administrator of the FRNs.
Changing the FRNs associated to a license, however, has to be done on a system-by-system level. You would have to go to each licensing system to make this change, since each system will have a separate process by which the FRN(s) for an owner of a license can be updated.
Finally, although the FRN(s) associated to an owner of a license can be changed in each system, there is no way to transfer an FRN’s filing & payment history to another FRN. Future filing will, however, be associated to the FRN specified.
Q: In our testing of the new CORES System, we have gathered the following feedback:
The system time-out is too brief. It should be 30-60 minutes.
As a company Administrator, when I set up new users and provide their email address, I am returned to the CORES login page. However, I would prefer to receive confirmation you received my request to add the new user. It does not make sense I would have to login again. Perhaps this happened because I was timed out. If so, there should be some red text indicating I have been logged out due to inactivity.
I have tried adding a new user, but when I add the user’s email address, I am told they do not exist. How do I add other users to our account?
Does the updated CORES System share the same database as the current CORES System?
A: A CORES session currently times out after 15 minutes of inactivity. Although we understand that this may inconvenience some users, the session lock-out time has been set to this time period for security purposes in order to protect CORES users from any malicious activity.
The reason you were directed to the CORES login page after attempting to grant a certain user permissions to an FRN is because your session timed out. Although we cannot lengthen this time-out period for the reasons mentioned above, we do agree that an error message indicating that you have been logged out due to inactivity would be useful information for users. We will log this request to be included in a future set of updates to the CORES System.
Adding a new user to have permissions to an FRN in the CORES System is only possible if this individual has already registered for a new FCC Username Account through the User Registration System. Consequently, each user in your company who needs permissions to an FRN needs to register for his or her own Username Account. At that point, you can add these users to have access to any FRNs for which you are an Administrator by providing either their Username or the Primary Email Address that they specified when creating their accounts.
The CORES Pilot Team does wish to add functionality to the CORES System in the future to allow users to invite other individuals via email to create Username Accounts. As a solution in the meantime, we will log a request to add more descriptive text than the error message you currently see. In this message, we will eliminate any confusion by explaining that users can only be granted permissions to an FRN if they have already registered for a Username Account.
Both versions of the CORES System share the same database. Therefore, users will be able to associate their Username Accounts to their existing FRNs in the updated CORES System.
Q: On page 2 of your instructions, it states "Note: At this time, there are no changes to how other FCC systems associate resources (applications, licenses, etc.) to FRNs." What does this mean explicitly? Does it mean that the unique Usernames and passwords will not apply to other FCC systems such as ULS, Tariffs and USAC systems? Will only the Administrator's password for each FRN be usable to make transactions in these systems?
If so, please advise me of the benefits of the unique Usernames for CORES other than security measures if a company is not certain of the prudence in having multiple users log in to CORES?
Does the updated CORES permit the exact same password for multiple Usernames (in case done by accident)? If not, is there an error message displayed? If so, that could be a security risk.
It appears that I can go in now and set up myself as an Administrator and change the passwords on all of my 200+ FRNs. Will this information be saved? I would like to avoid having to do this process over again when the updated CORES System goes live on September 1, 2016.
Can FRNs can have multiple Administrators? An Administrator may wish to associate more than one Username with an FRN. Can we use the same password as Administrator and Co-Administrator even though our email addresses and Usernames would be different for each account?
Since we have so many FRNs, do you have a tool such as Excel that we can populate all information onto and send to the CORES Pilot team for upload into the updated CORES System?
Do the security measures for the updated CORES System allow having FRNs roll up to a parent company for instances of a Red Light occurrence? This functionality would be useful because there have been instances of errors not of a payer's doing or contact information change that cause a payer not to receive an invoice.
A: Currently, other FCC systems still use an FRN and Password login. However, you will now be able to use the password for your FCC Username Account to login to other FCC systems with FRNs which are associated to your Username. The actual FRN-Password will also continue to work. Furthermore, other systems will be progressively switching to a Username Login once the updated CORES System goes live.
As mentioned above, users will have the ability to access FCC systems without having to use a shared FRN-Password.
Password duplicates for Username Accounts are allowed. The only check the system does on a password is whether it meets the complexity standards specified. It does not check to see if the password is unique.
Any actions done in the updated CORES System during the Pilot Program will be saved in the database. You will not have to redo any work done in the system once it goes live to the public.
Also (although the system allows you to reset your FRN-Passwords) changing the password for your FRN is not part of the process of associating an FRN to your Username Account.
The system does not limit how many individuals can be set up as Administrators to FRN(s). Currently, the first individual who knows an FRN and Password can associate themselves to be an Administrator for an FRN. Then, he or she can associate an unlimited amount of other Usernames as Administrators. Furthermore, we will soon be allowing all users who know an FRN and Password to associate themselves as Administrators to an FRN.
Furthermore, as mentioned above, we will not restrict duplicate passwords for Username Accounts. Only the Username and the Email Address provided when registering for an account need to be unique.
If you send us an Excel spreadsheet listing the Registered Username, FRN, and desired permission level (either Administer, Manage, or View) for each requested association, then someone in our team can do a bulk upload of these associations. I have attached a spreadsheet with the required columns. Please fill in the requested information in this spreadsheet and send the file back to us.
Additionally, please note that in order for a user to be associated to an FRN, they must have already registered for an FCC Username Account.
Also, below is a brief description of what functionality each permission level will allow for an FRN:
- An “Administer” permission level to an FRN allows you to manage users associated with the FRN and update FRN information.
- A “Manage” permission level to an FRN allows you to view the users associated with the FRN and update the FRN information.
- A “View” permission level allows you to view users associated with the FRN and view the FRN information.
Yes, soon we will be expanding the CORES System functionality to provide users, with the appropriate permissions, the ability to view the financial history of multiple FRNs at a time. The FRN’s financial history information will include:
- Cash receipts
- Open bills
- Closed bills
- Red Light Status and detail
These updates will be available in the updated CORES System in July. At that point, the appropriate users will be able to view this Red Light Detail for their associated FRNs.
Furthermore, the Red Light Display System will be updated to include a Username Login once this new CORES System goes live. This will allow users to log in with a Username and have the system pinpoint whether any FRNs are on Red Light Status.
Q: I just finished the CORES Pilot Program Webinar and have a few questions about how this will look in the future for our business. We file hundreds of applications a year for licensees. Most licensees entrust with us with their FRN and passwords so that we can efficiently file applications for them online. Some applications are done on an as-needed basis, and some companies let us have access so we can file applications for them whenever they need. We usually send in signed FCC Form 161s from our licensees to the CORES email so we can create passwords before our applications are filed.
Will we be able to do our business the same way going forward? Alternatively, would we need to get the Username from the licensee and then reset the password of their Username if they forget it, or would we have to associate their FRNs to our own Username before we manage their licensing? If the latter is the case, we would end up having hundreds of FRNs associated to our Username. Is there a limit to the number of FRNs we can associate? Would this be the best way to do this?
A: You will need to create your own FCC Username Account for your company, associate all of the FRNs that you manage to your account, and manage who has access to the FRNs. Allowing multiple Usernames to have access to an FRN is one of the advantages to the updated CORES System, since it allows users to no longer have to share FRN-Passwords. Instead, a user can log in to other FCC systems with the FRN and their individual Username-Password.
You can associate an unlimited amount of FRNs to a Username. However, there is a daily limit of 50 FRNs that can be associated to a Username per day. If you would like to lift this daily limit and associate an unlimited amount of FRNs to their Username per day, then please let us know so we can remove this limit.
Q: Is the the updated CORES System rollout date (which is currently scheduled for 9/1/2016) firm?
We are concerned this date will coincide with the preparation of Regulatory Fees, which will start around the same time. We generally have FRN problems and do not want the new system to create more work for us when we have time-sensitive reports due.
A: Although the new CORES System goes live on September 1st, users will be able to continue to use the old CORES System until September 30th. Therefore, the old CORES System going down should not conflict with the Regulatory Fees season.
Also, we will continue supporting an FRN and Password login for other FCC Systems for a while after the old CORES System is retired.
Q: Can you please explain to me a benefit of having people register for their own FCC Username Accounts other than being able to associate and manage FCC Registration Numbers (FRNs)?
A: Once your Username is associated to an FRN, the FRN and the password for your Username Account can be used to log in to other FCC Systems. Being able to use your Username-Password when logging in with an FRN to other Systems allows you to have your own personal password for an FRN, thus improving security by removing the need for sharing FRN-Passwords with other users.
Q: Public Notice DA 16-447 states that one of the changes will be to "establish password-recovery security questions specific to each user". Is it correct that these security questions would be to reset the Username-Password for the individual Username Account and not to reset any FRN-Passwords?
A: This is correct.
Q: Do user have access to any new information for FRNs in the updated CORES System?
A: We have also expanded the CORES System functionality to provide users, with the appropriate permissions, the ability to view the financial history of multiple FRNs at a time. The FRN’s financial history information will include:
- Cash receipts
- Open bills
- Closed bills
- Red Light Status and detail
Please let us know if you need any assistance in setting this permission up.
Q: When the old CORES System is retired, will password reset requests only be allowed to be submitted by the people who have Username Accounts that are linked to the FRN? If so, might frequency advisory committees (FACs) still have some way to be able to do this on behalf of their customers?
A: We will continue to support FRN-Password resets for a certain amount of time after the old CORES System goes down. Eventually, password reset requests will only be done on a Username-level, not an FRN-level.
We expect that users will reset their own Passwords for their Username Accounts as necessary. However, if whoever is managing the FRN(s) for a client has permissions to these FRNs, then they will be able to reset their own Username-Password, which they will be able to use go log in to other systems with.
Q: Is there a way for the FRN Administrator to block other users from resetting an FRN-Password, even if that person knows the answer to the Personal Security Question and the Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) and has a Username Account that is associated with the FRN? We would like to avoid someone in an organization making an unauthorized password change.
A: Right now, there is no way for an FRN administrator to block others from resetting an FRN-Password. If a user knows the answer to the PSQ, then they can reset an FRN’s password. This is functionality from the old CORES System that we are still supporting. However, users will still be able to continue to use their individual Username-Passwords for an FRN. Therefore, a user resetting an FRN-Password should not block other users associated with that FRN from logging in with their Username-Passwords to other FCC Systems. Also, we are working on an enhancement to allow FRN Administrators receive an email notification if their FRN’s password has been reset.
Once the other FCC Systems switch to a Username login (rather than an FRN login), we will stop supporting this functionality. At that point, users will only be able to reset their own Username-Passwords
Q: It might also be helpful for an administrator to be able to block someone from registering for a new FCC Registration Number (FRN) if there is already an existing one under the same Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). Some companies may prefer to have a separate FRN for each of their locations. Others may want all of their company's licenses associated under one main FRN. Implementing this feature might also help to avoid some typographical errors when entering the TIN.
A: Right now, users are notified when attempting to register for a new FRN when there is already an existing one under the same TIN/EIN. The user is given the option to proceed or go back to make necessary changes. Currently, we expect that companies will internally manage how they wish to handle FRN registrations for their licenses.
In the future, we may choose to allow FRN Administrators to block the registration of new FRNs with the same TIN or we may choose to add functionality to notify Administrators if a new FRN was registered with the same TIN as their FRN.
Q: On the Manage FRNs page, if users click on a tab corresponding to a permission level that they do not have for their FRN(s), they see the message “No Results”. Perhaps it would be more useful to have a more descriptive message in this scenario.
A: We agree that clarifying the message shown on the Manage FRNs page for a permission level users do not have for their FRN(s) would be helpful to users. We will log your suggestion for a future improvement to the system.