Form 471 Filing Guide – Category 1 Services

January 30, 2018

Attached: Form 471 Category 1 Filing Guide FY 2018

~ Very few changes for FY 2018’s Form 471 ~
~ PIA already reviewing submitted 471s! ~
~ Helpful hints below ~

Congratulations to the 82 PA schools and libraries that have already filed their FY 2018 Form 471s!  For the 900+ applicants that haven’t yet filed, there are only 51 days left to do so before the March 22, 2018 deadline.  I also just heard that PIA started reviewing applications last week (!!!), so don’t delay in submitting so you can be in the first wave(s)!


Attached you will find a helpful Form 471 Filing Guide for Category 1 Services.  It contains 112 slides, providing screenshots and hints/answers to each question related to three different types of funding requests as follows:

  • Local-long distance/PRI lines – 2 FRN line items (starts on slide 13)
  • Internet access (bundled with transport) – 1 FRN line item (starts on slide 37)
  • Lit fiber WAN – 3 FRN line items (starts on slide 59)
  • Copy FRN Feature – (starts on slide 107)


The FY 2018 Form 471 contains very minor changes from last year’s form, and they are as follows:

  • Warning for Voice FRNs Where Discounts Have Been Phased Out -  For FY 2018, only schools and libraries with a 90% C1 discount will receive discounts for voice funding, and even then, that discount will only be 10%.  Applicants with less than a 90% C1 discount will receive a warning message if they try to create a Funding Request Number (FRN) for voice services that will result in a zero-dollar ($0.00) funding commitment request. If they continue, they will be unable to submit their form until they remove all zero-dollar FRNs.  No voice discounts will be eligible for any school or library beginning in FY 2019.
  • Entering Service Start Dates – Each year, the form asks for the Service Start Date – which is the first day in THIS funding year that services can begin.  This is not the date the contract began.  The answer should always be 7/1/2018 (in limited circumstances, it could be later than this if a service is intentionally starting mid-year).  In no case can the Service Start Date be a date prior to 7/1/2018. 

Note:   Category 1 services can be installed prior to July 1 so they are able to be “turned on” beginning July 1.  You would still list 7/1/2018 as the SSD.
Category 2 equipment can be installed as early as April 1, 2018.  You would still list 7/1/2018 as the SSD (this is changed from last year).

  • Updates to Copy FRN Feature – Last year, the COPY FRN feature copied everything from the FRN identified by the applicant which led to problems with old service start dates and service end dates being copied from previous years and not updated by the applicant.  On the FY 2018 Form 471, the system will not automatically copy the Service Start and End Dates – those must be entered manually by the applicant.
  • Form 470 Error Checking – When an applicant cites a Form 470 #, the system will check for the information from that form to ensure that it meets the minimum requirements for the FRN being filed.  Specifically:

– If the Form 470 has not been posted for at least 28 days, you will not be able to cite the form.  If it is the form you wish to cite, you must wait until 28 days have passed after the form was certified before you can cite it. Remember that you cannot select your service provider or sign a contract until at least the 29th day after the Form 470 was posted.  (Note, also, that if you are creating a Contract Record in EPC, you cannot cite a Form 470 that has not been posted for at least 28 days.)

– If the Form 470 posts for a service type (Voice, Internet Access and/or Telecommunications, Internal Connections, Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections, or Managed Internal Broadband Services) that is different from the service type you are requesting on an FRN, you will not be able to cite to that FCC Form 470. If you are filing your Form 470 now and you are not sure which of two service types is the correct one to use to list your services, list your services under both service types and put a note in the narrative that you are not looking for duplicative services, but that you have included your information in both service types.

  • Additional Helper/Hover Text – Where appropriate, additional helper/hover text has been added to assist applicants in filing their forms.


  1. File a Form 471 for EACH Separate FRN.

This is NOT a USAC requirement, but based on what I saw during FY 2017 PIA reviews, smaller applications were funded faster.  It doesn’t take much extra time to create a new 471 — just a few extra clicks.  If you’ve already filed multiple FRNs on a single 471, that’s ok!  But if you haven’t yet filed, you may want to consider “flattening” your application into several smaller ones.  (Note:  the exception to this advice is if you’re filing for leased dark fiber or special provisioned fiber, in which case all related FRNs must be listed on the same 471.)

  1. For Internet and Data FRNs, Answer the Yes/No Questions This Way:
  • Answer 2nd Question first (is this for a WAN?)
  • If the answer to the 2nd Question is Yes, then the answer to 1st question is No
  • Internet FRNs should always answer No/Yes.
  • There is a small exception for consortia backbone applications where they would answer No/No.
  1. For cellular services (for the very few applicants that still qualify):
  • Always choose “cellular voice, no data” to describe your service, even if you’re actually receiving bundled services from vendor (such as a bundled voice/data plan).  The only exception to this is if you qualify for the very limited mobile broadband services (such as for bookmobiles).
  • List the total cost of cellular services, then show ineligible amount.  In other words, don’t do the math offline and simply enter the eligible cost because you want PIA to see that you’ve subtracted the ineligible costs.  It’s also a good idea to say what was removed as ineligible in the narrative box (data services, voice mail, caller ID, text messaging, etc.).
  1. Creating FRN Line Items – Breaking Out Unit Costs

Although it’s easy to figure out how to “Add an FRN,” creating the Line Items under that FRN to actually describe the services/equipment and specify the amount of funding requested is a little confusing.  After you’ve created an FRN, click on the FRN number in blue (it’s hyperlinked) and a page will appear asking if you want to “Add New FRN Line Item.”  Continue adding Line Items for that FRN until you’ve built your FRN.  For example, if you’re requesting funding a Lit Fiber WAN, if you have 1 – 10 GB connection, 6 – 1 GB connections, and taxes, you will have 1 FRN with 3 FRN Line Items, identifying the unique speed, costs and recipients of each Line Item; and the total taxes for the entire service.


  1. Finding Contracts Records to Select After Clicking Search

When you create an FRN in the 471, the system asks if it’s based on a contracted service or MTM service.  If you choose Contract, the system will ask which contract you want to associate with that FRN.  If you forgot to create your Contract Record in the EPC Contract Module prior to starting the 471, no worries – add them now.  In a separate tab, go to your Landing Page > Name of your District > Contracts > Manage Contracts > Add a Contract.  Then create a Contract Record for each separate contract you have (both C1 and C2).  Reminder, you’re not required to upload copies of your contracts, but I strongly suggest you at least upload your Category 2 contracts.   If you use the Copy FRN feature, your contract will still be linked from last year and doesn’t need linked again. (For help creating Contract Records, see


  1. Returning to the Main FRN Page (and stop adding FRN Line Items)

When you’re in the FRN Line Item page, instead of clicking on the green “Add New FRN Line Item,” click on the “Continue” button at the bottom right of the page.  That will take you back to the Main FRN page where you will find all of the FRNs you’ve created.  To get back into the FRN Line Item(s) for a single FRN, click on the blue FRN number (it’s hyperlinked).

  1. Getting Back Into the 471

If you click on something that takes you out of the 471, or if you deliberately leave the 471, it’s easy to return where you left off.  Simply go to your EPC Landing Page by clicking on the USAC Logo, and then under “My Tasks” click on the appropriate “FCC Form 471 – #18xxxxxxxx {Nickname You Gave the Form}.”

  1. Answering the Connectivity Questions at the End of the 471

If you get to the end of the 471 (congratulations!) and you see a message saying your Connectivity Questions are incomplete, it likely means you’ve added a new school and forgot to answer their Connectivity Questions in EPC prior to starting the 471.  Or you may see Connectivity Data and want to update the data.  Simply return to your EPC Landing Page (click on the USAC Logo), > Name of School/Library > Related Actions > Manage Connectivity Questions.  After you’ve updated the data and then completed each school’s Connectivity Questionnaire, return to the 471 (see #8) and your Connectivity Answers will now show on the last page of the form.  (For help answering the Connectivity Questions, see

  1. Clicked on “Review Form 471″ and I’m Lost

This is truly one of the most confusing pieces of filing the 471.  After you click “Review FCC Form 471,” the screen goes blank for a second, and then returns you to EPC.  YOU HAVE NOT YET SUBMITTED YOUR FORM.  Wait 15 seconds, refresh your browser, and under “My Tasks” on your EPC Landing Page you will see a task entitled “Review PDF for FCC Form 471 – #18xxxxxxxxx {Nickname You Gave the Form}.  Click on this task, and you will be taken back to the 471 and given the opportunity to review a PDF of your draft 471.  If you have no changes, check the small certification box, then “Continue to Certification.”  If you do have changes, click on “Edit Form” in the bottom left corner of the screen to return to the 471.


  1. Clicked on “Save and Share” and Lost My 471

Whenever possible, don’t click this button!  The draft 471 is then taken from your EPC profile and a message is sent to all other “users” associated with the organization asking if they want to “accept the task.”  Only ever use the “Save and Share” feature if you truly want to “pass the ball” to another user to finish or certify the application.


  1. How to Answer 2 Questions on the Certification Page

On the final Certification Page, there are two questions asking if you received any funds from a service provider or if a service provider has helped you locate funds.  The answer to both of these questions should be NO.  Essentially, they are asking if a service provider has waived any of your non-discounted amounts (your fair share), or given you funds to offset those amounts. Don’t be confused by the meaning of these questions or pause in anyway.  The answers should always be NO.  If a vendor does offer to waive your share or give you funds to cover it, cancel your contract with that vendor and go to the next lowest bid.

If you have any questions as you’re working through your Form 471, please don’t hesitate to e-mail me at

Happy filing!

– Julie

Julie Tritt Schell
PA E-rate Coordinator
717-730-7133 – o
717-730-9060 – f


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