“We have new rules, orders and forms for Year Eight, but we don’t know exactly what they are.” - Train the Trainer 2004 The Scream, 1893 Edvard Munch
Overview • Introduction • Statistics on Funding Years • Heightened Oversight • Site Visits • Ombudsman • Outreach & Training, WebEx, Online E-mail, SP Portal, ETP • Updates on FCC Orders
Statistics on Funding Years • Demand by Year – Service Type • Commitments vs. Disbursements • Funding Threshold by Year • Online Form 470/471 Filers • E-certifications
Commitments vs. Disbursementsas of September 7, 2004(in thousands of dollars)
1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 Internal Connections at 70% All approved requests funded Internal Connections at 82% Internal Connections at 86% Internal Connections at 81% Internal Connections at 70% Internal Connections at ?? Funding Threshold by Year
Heightened Oversight • E-rate program subject to heightened oversight during the last year • By whom? • Why? • What are the implications?
Oversight – What Should You Do? • Make sure you are aware of program rules • Review materials on the web site frequently • Contact the SLD Client Service Bureau • Submit a Question through the web site • Fax questions to 1-888-276-8736 • Call 1-888-203-8100 • If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is
Eligible Products Database What is it? • A pilot program established by the FCC in the 2nd Report and Order. • A database of internal connections products that are eligible for funding.
Eligible Products Database What is its value? • Applicants can have higher assurance that a product is eligible if it is available in the database. • Care must still be exercised, since eligibility in many cases depends on how a product is used.
Eligible Products Database Implementation timeline: • Spring 2004– Mfgr enrollment • Summer 2004– Mfgr data entry • Fall 2004– Publicly available
Eligible Products Database Manufacturers participating in the pilot program include: • 3Com • Avaya • Cisco Systems • Dell • Hewlett Packard • IBM • Nortel • Sprint
Eligible Products Database The pilot program will test the products database concept for Fund Year 2005. • Can a database of this size be feasibly administered? • Can applicants have confidence that all database entries are E-rate eligible? • Will this approach limit applicant flexibility?
1000 Site Visits • Purpose of Site Visits • Objective of Site Visits • How Will Information Be Used? • Selection Criteria • Process
Purpose of Site Visits • Two Purposes: • Robust after the fact physical site review to help curb waste, fraud and abuse. • Enhanced outreach to the school and library community.
Objective of Site Visits Gather information on: • Procurement • Deployment • Use of technology as it relates to E-rate • Possible best practices by applicants • Success of current outreach efforts
Site Visit Reviewer • Will gather information on the deployment and use of technology. • Will identify topics for which further outreach and training related to the Schools and Libraries support mechanism may be worthwhile.
How Will Information Be Used? • To support the performance goals and efficiency measures that will be established by the FCC. • To publicize best practices so that USAC can provide proactive help to applicants.
Site Visit Selection • Visits will be generally random based on receipt of recent invoices • Indicates that products/services have been delivered • Visits will be short and focused. • Visits will include locations across all states and territories that receive E-rate funds. • Applicant will be notified one to two weeks prior to visit and will be given a list of specific documentation to have ready.
Site Visit Process • Reviewer will interview applicant to determine any specific difficulties the applicant has experienced with E-rate • Reviewer will gather applicant suggestions on additional outreach that USAC could provide to improve the E-rate process and program. • Reviewer will determine what is the most effective means to disseminate important information to the applicant community.
Summary Site Visits will benefit the applicant community by: • Allowing SLD to see first-hand how E-rate funded services and technology are being procured and utilized. • Interviews with applicants and direct observation will allow SLD to expand our training and outreach efforts. • Allows SLD to streamline and improve the E-rate process.
Ombudsman • New position (August 2004) • Four functions: • Coordinate and track responses to non-standard questions and issues • Monitor questions to identify recurring issues for follow up with new or recast guidance documents or other outreach efforts • Field and respond to complaints • Generally monitor program operations and identify potential improvements
Ombudsman • Ombudsman issues • Issues that can be resolved through normal channels should use those channels • Submit a Question on the web site • Fax to 1-888-276-8736 • Call to 1-888-203-8100 • Issues that cannot be resolved will be escalated
Ombudsman • What can you expect? • Answers to issues that can be resolved promptly will be communicated promptly. • Issues that cannot be resolved immediately will be identified as such to the caller. • All issues will be tracked and not lost.
Ombudsman • What are your responsibilities? • If possible, start with Submit a Question and get a case number • Be prepared to explain your issue clearly and succinctly • Have details ready – Form 471 application number, Billed Entity Number, Funding Year, Funding Request Number, and so on
Outreach & Training • Since May 2004, new category for Outreach & Training added to SLD website • Provides hyperlinks to • WebEx Training • Provides links on how to join a session and view a recorded Session • TTT Presentations in hard copy • On Line E-Mail
WebEx Training • Extended to applicants as well as service providers • 100 concurrent seats available through January 2005 • Multiple Training Sessions on key topics from October 2004 through January 2005
WebEx Training (cont.) • First-year service providers may attend the TTT Workshop via WebEx • All TTT Presentations available as recorded sessions by October 14, 2004 • Individual WebEx training sessions available via WebEx on an as-requested basis
Submit A Question Online • Available since November 2003 • Will provide How To document for WebEx sessions • Provides for greater efficiencies in routing and tracking • Received lots of constructive feedback • Incorporating changes pursuant to feedback received from applicants and service providers
Service Provider Portal • FCC Forms 498 and 499 slated to be available for online certification in October 2004 • Working toward an SLD Service Provider Dashboard • Slated to allow • online filing and certifications for FCC Forms 472 and 473 • service provider managed access to invoicing information and status updates
ETP Update • ETP designation is a USAC term that will be renamed telecommunications carrier to align with FCC regulatory definition. • New requirements outlined by FCC and implemented by USAC • Telecommunications carrier designation search tool will be created on web site to allow applicants and service providers to search • status of TC designation • date of USAC designation • states in which service provider is operating as a TC
At-Your-Service Acronyms • Client Service Bureau (CSB) • E-rate “Help Desk” where applicants & service providers can get answers to questions • Accessed via toll-free number • Technical Client Service Bureau (TCSB) • Team answering technical questions about eligible services & program rules • Also accessed via same toll-free number. CSB will refer you to this area • Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) • Team that reviews every application for compliance w/ FCC rules • Everyone receives calls from PIA before funding determinations
Resources to Remember • On back of binder • SLD web site: www.sl.universalservice.org • SLD CSB: 888-203-8100 • MI E-rate website:www.michigan.gov/erate • MI E-rate listservs: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Getting Organized • E-rate Binder (contents found at www.michigan.gov/erate) contains everything: • Forms, instructions, samples • Tips, checklists, contact sheets • Powerpoint handouts • Timeline • Rule 1 – Get Organized Using This Binder • Keep copies of all forms, letters, etc. • Hint: Keep copies in binder • Make new binder for next year • Refer to binder and contents often Important!
Updates on FCC Orders • Ysleta Order • FCC 03-313, released December 9, 2003 • Third Order • FCC 03-323, released December 23,2003 • Fourth Order • FCC 04-181, released July 30, 2004 • Fifth Order • FCC 04-190, released August 13, 2004
Updates on Orders – Ysleta • Technology Plans • Applicants must develop detailed technology plans that describe their technology needs and goals in a manner consistent with their educational or informational objectives
Updates on Orders – Ysleta • Form 470 • Form 470 must be based upon carefully thought-out technology plan • Must detail specific services sought in a manner that would allow bidders to understand the specific technologies an applicant is seeking • NOT a planning device for applicants trying to determine what is available • Form 470 developed from Tech Plan should mirror the level of complexity of products and services for which discounts are being sought.
Updates on Orders – Ysleta • Overbroad Forms 470 • Applicant may list multiple services on Form 470, knowing that it intends to choose one over another • However, products and services must be linked in a reasonable way to the Technology Plan and not request duplicative services.
Updates on Orders – Ysleta • Overbroad Forms 470 (cont) • Requirement for a bona fide request means that applicants must submit a list of specific services for which they are likely to seek discounts consistent with their Technology Plans • Should provide bidders with sufficient information to enable them to reasonably determine needs of applicant