How to Apply for E-Rate Funding—Step 5: Starting Services

Rhea Fawley
E-Rate Starting Services

When starting services, you must file the FCC Form 486. This form alerts USAC that the approved discounted services have begun, you are in compliance with the CIPA requirement, and invoicing can start.

Before services begin, you always should have a detailed conversation with your chosen service provider. If there is a contract in place between you and the service provider, you will want to review that, along with the products and services being delivered.

USAC does allow you to file the FCC Form 486 early. In order to do this, you have to meet their requirements:

  1. Services will start in July.
  2. You can honestly make all certifications.
  3. The form is filed on or before July 31st.

The deadline for the Form 486 is 120 days after services have started, or 120 days after you have received your FCDL from USAC. This is determined by which one is later. Remember, if this form is filed late, USAC will reduce funds. The later you file the form, the higher the deduction will be. Make sure you submit all forms accurately and in a timely manner.

Once your form has been reviewed successfully, an FCC Form 486 notification letter is sent out to you and the chosen service provider. The information included in this letter will be what you have submitted to USAC—be sure to review carefully for any incorrect information—and also the next steps in the process. Keep in mind that if USAC decides that the services start date needs to be adjusted, they will adjust this date and provide the decision explanation in the letter as well.

NOTE: You should inform your service provider which of the two invoice methods you have selected, BEAR or SPI. We’ll be going into more detail in part six of our series, all about invoicing. Be sure to check back to learn how to make this step go smoothly.

If you haven’t read Step 1 , Step 2, Step 3 or Step 4 you can check them out on Connected Community.

Rhea Fawley is an E-rate Sales Specialist at Connection, specializing in the education marketplace. When she’s not helping customers solve IT challenges or navigate the E-Rate process, you’ll find her reading, writing, or taking her two young children on adventures.