The Basics

What is E-Rate?

The FCC's E-Rate program, formally known as the Schools and Libraries Universal Service Support Program, makes telecommunications and information services more affordable for schools and libraries, including Tribal libraries. With funding from the Universal Service Fund, E-Rate provides discounts for telecommunications, Internet access, and internal connections to eligible schools and libraries.

What is USF?

The Universal Service Fund was created to implement the principle established by the Communications Act of 1934 that all people in the United States have access to rapid, efficient, nationwide communication service with adequate facilities at reasonable charges. The Universal Service Fund is paid for by contributions from providers of telecommunications based on an assessment of their end-user revenues. E-Rate is one of the four programs through which the FCC provides universal service support.

What is USAC?

The Universal Service Administration Company (USAC) administers the four universal service programs, including E-Rate, and is financed through the Universal Service Fund under the direction of the FCC. The FCC retains responsibility for overseeing the program’s operations and ensuring compliance with is rules, while USAC administers E-Rate and is responsible for managing the program’s day-to-day operations.

What is EPC?

The E-Rate Productivity Center (EPC) is the account and application management portal for the E-Rate program. E-Rate program participants use this tool to file forms, manage program processes, receive notifications, and contact customer service.

What is WCB?

The Wireline Competition Bureau is a bureau of the Federal Communications Commission that works to ensure that all Americans have access to robust, affordable broadband and voice services. The Wireline Competition Bureau oversees the universal service programs, including the E-Rate program.

Who do I contact for help?

E-Rate program participants can receive assistance with program questions, problems, and system issues by calling USAC’s E-Rate Customer Service Center at (888) 203-8100 Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET.

The Forms

What forms must a library complete?

Libraries seeking E-Rate funding must complete the following forms within the proper filing windows: FCC Form 470, FCC Form 471, FCC Form 486, and FCC Form 472, unless your service provider files FCC Form 474.

What is the purpose of FCC Form 470?

The FCC Form 470 (Description of Services Requested and Certification Form) is the first form that must be completed in order to request E-Rate support.  Applicants file an FCC Form 470 to open the required competitive bidding process, which allows service providers to review the posted form and submit bids for the requested equipment and services.

What is the purpose of the FCC Form 471?

The FCC Form 471 (Description of Services Ordered and Certification Form) is the second form that must be completed to apply for E-Rate support.  Applicants file FCC Form 471 to request discounts on eligible services and equipment for the upcoming funding year. Applicants must include information pertaining to the recipients of services and service provider(s); provide detailed descriptions of services, including costs and dates of service or equipment; and certify compliance with program rules.

What is the purpose of the FCC Form 486?

Applicants file an FCC Form 486 (Receipt of Service Confirmation and Children’s Internet Protection Act Certification Form) to notify USAC that the billed entity and/or the eligible entities that it represents is receiving, or has received, service in the relevant funding year from the named service provider(s). FCC Form 486 also indicates the status of compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA).

What is the purpose of the FCC Form 472?

Applicants who will be invoicing will file an FCC Form 472, or Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) Form, to request reimbursement from USAC for discount costs of eligible products or services approved on the FCC Form 471, and which the applicant has received and paid for in full.

What is the purpose of the FCC Form 474?

If service providers will be invoicing, they will file an FCC Form 474, or Service Provider Invoice (SPI) Form, to request reimbursement from USAC for the discount amount for eligible services and equipment provided to the applicant and approved on the FCC Form 471. The service provider must provide the service and/or equipment and bill the applicant for its non-discount share before submitting a SPI Form to USAC.

The Application Process

What is a BEN?

USAC assigns a unique identifying number to each entity that participates in the E-Rate program. This number assigned by USAC is called an entity number.  If an entity pays the service provider for products and/or services delivered to eligible schools and libraries, that entity is called a billed entity. USAC assigns this entity an entity number specific to the billed entity role they have, called a BEN.

What is an FCC RN?

An FCC Registration Number is an identification number assigned to any entity, including E-Rate participants, doing business with the FCC. Each applicant needs this to apply for funding.

What is an FRN?

A funding request number, or FRN, is a unique number assigned to each funding request. There can be one or multiple FRNs included on an FCC Form 471. Note that an FRN is different than an FCC RN.

What is PIA?

Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) reviewers at USAC will review each FCC Form 471 to check the information for completeness and accuracy. PIA reviewers may contact applicants to validate eligibility or request additional information.

What is an FCDL?

After review of the funding requests, a Funding Commitment Decision Letter (FCDL) is issued by USAC in response to applications. It contains decisions on approved or denied funding requests and next steps.

Updated: 
Tuesday, August 9, 2022