Starting your E-rate supported services

Starting your E-rate supported servicesAfter you receive the funding commitment decision letter and start your E-rate Program supported services, use the FCC Form 486 to inform USAC that they’ve started.

Flowchart - you are here - start services - FCC Form 486

E-rate application process – click to enlarge

Start services

Work with your service provider to select a first day of service; you can start services any time beginning July 1 (the first day of the funding year).

Most applicants choose to start their services right on July 1, even if it’s before they receive a funding commitment, because once funded they can ask for retroactive discounts back to July 1. But, some applicants choose to wait until they receive their funding commitment (to be certain their funding request is approved) before starting services.

Confirm that services started

FCC Form 486 is the “receipt for service confirmation and CIPA and technology plan certification form.” It notifies USAC that your services have started or been delivered.

We ask you to confirm that services started because sometimes applicants decide not to go forward with the services they thought they wanted (and requested on FCC Form 471). The E-rate Program doesn’t want to send payment to service providers unless they are actually providing the service to the school/library.

Once you notify USAC that your services have started, your invoices for E-rate funding can be processed and paid!

Also around this time…

Before your services start, you should confirm how you want to handle invoicing with your vendor. There is no form or time where you officially declare your invoicing choice; simply tell your service provider which method you prefer. You can choose between:

  • The BEAR method (billed entity applicant reimbursement), in which you pay your service provider in full, then ask USAC for the reimbursement, and receive funds directly to your organization’s bank account, OR
  • The SPI method (service provider invoicing), in which your service provider handles the reimbursement process with USAC, and you pay a discounted bill for your services.

We’ll cover both invoicing methods here in the blog in more detail over the next few weeks.

Also on FCC Form 486

On FCC Form 486, you also certify whether you’re compliant with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and other program rules.

Next on the blog, we’ll review the certifications you agree to on the form, and how to file it online.

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