USAC's Latest News Archive gives you access to all announcements related to universal services programs as they were made throughout the years.
On March 5, 1999, USAC released "Report to the FCC: Evaluation of the Rural Health Care Program." The 55-page report highlights the program's current status, and provides recommendations for program improvement. On March 7, 1999, the FCC issued a public notice requesting comments on the report (CC Docket Nos 96-45 and 97-21, DA 99-521), due March 29, 1999. To review the report, click on the link that follows. Link to FCC Report
While we're all focused on making Year 2 of the E-rate a resounding success, the Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) is also planning ahead for Year 3. And we need your help.
Year 3 represents our first real opportunity to make significant changes in the way the program operates, from the design of the application forms to the timing of each step in the process, from our customer service operation to the ways we communicate with you.
We have convened a special Task Force of representatives from the school, library and service provider communities to consider all these issues and develop recommendations for Year 3 and beyond. We want to include your advice as well.
Please share your thoughts with us about the MOST IMPORTANT change you would like to see us make for Year 3. We know many of you have lots of concerns and many suggestions, but knowing your most urgent priority for change will help us focus on what matters most.
Send your MOST IMPORTANT suggestion for Year 3 via E-mail. Please put "YEAR 3!" in the subject line so we can immediately route it for consideration by the Task Force.
Then keep watching the Web Site for more about the Task Force recommendations and the SLD's plans for improvement for Year 3. Thank you for helping us to serve you better.
Responding to concerns raised by schools and libraries that they would be unable to complete installation of internal connections by June 30, 1999, the Federal Communications Commission voted today to extend the deadline for using E-rate funds until September 30, 1999, the Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) of the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) announced today. The Commission extended the deadline to "ensure that schools and libraries have sufficient time to use universal service support that was approved in the first funding year for nonrecurring service such as installation of internal connections."
The Commission also addressed the situation of applicants whose contracts for telecommunications services and Internet access expired before Dec. 31, 1998, voting to permit them to extend or renew existing contracts through June 30, 1999, thus making them eligible for an additional six months of funding commitments.
In another important move, the Commission ruled that during the appeals process, the SLD can proceed with disbursing approved funds while an appeal is being reviewed. Existing rules had the unintended effect of preventing the SLD from disbursing any funds during an appeal.
Finally, the FCC also acted to affirm that when sufficient funds are not available to fund all internal connection requests, funds for discounts are to be allocated beginning with applicants at the ninety percent discount level and then -- to the extent funds remain -- to applicants at each descending single discount percentage.
"Todays actions by the Commission are good news for E-rate applicants," said Kate L. Moore, President of USACs Schools and Libraries Division. "Now schools and libraries will have more time to establish the vital links between learners and the Internet, while we continue to put the neediest children first."
RHCD began accepting applications for the 1999 Funding Year on March 1, 1999. The 1999 Funding Year starts on July 1, 1999 and ends on June 30, 2000. While many aspects of the 1999 Funding Year resemble the 1998 Funding Year, there are some notable changes:
The 1998 Funding year started on January 1, 1998 and ends on June 30, 1999. The 1998 Funding Year application process remains largely unchanged.
The Schools and Libraries Corporation (SLC) and the Rural Health Care Corporation (RHCC) have merged with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). The merger is effective on January 1, 1999. One entity instead of three is now responsible for administering the telecommunications universal service programs for the Federal Communications Commission. The universal service programs help provide access to modern telecommunications services to schools, libraries, rural health care facilities, and consumers regardless of geographic location or socioeconomic status. The new structure will enable the integrity and focus of the targeted programs to be maintained while bringing additional efficiencies to the administration of the programs.
As a result of the merger, the RHCC and SLC have become divisions of USAC. USAC created a third division for the High Cost and the Low Income universal service programs. Committees of the USAC Board will govern each division. Each committee of the USAC Board oversees the budgets of its respective division and reports to the USAC Board. Any action taken by a committee is subject to review by the USAC Board.
Service to the consumer, the service provider, and the rural health care, school, and library communities will not be interrupted by the merger, and program participants can expect the same or better service under the merged entity. Client service and program support centers will continue without interruption.
USAC was created in 1997 as a not-for-profit subsidiary of the National Exchange Carrier Association, Inc., and is governed by a Board of Directors that includes a broad representation of both industry and non-industry interests, including representatives of service providers, schools and libraries, health care providers, consumers, and state regulatory commissions. USAC was responsible for overseeing the administration of the High Cost and the Low Income universal service programs as well as the billing, collection, and disbursement of funding for the high cost, low income, schools and libraries, and rural health care programs.
The RHCC was the not-for-profit corporation responsible for administering the universal service program for not for profit Rural Health Care Providers and was created to ensure (or "guarantee") that rural health care providers pay no more than their urban counterparts pay for telecommunication services.
The SLC was the not-for-profit corporation responsible for administering the Universal Service program for Schools and Libraries. Under this program schools and libraries can apply for discounts ranging from 20% to 90% on telecommunications services, Internet access, and internal connections.