EPC 470 - Script
Hello everyone. My name is Joshua Batchelor and I am the Technical Coordinator for C. E. Weldon Public Library here in Martin, TN. We are a rural library and one of the few in the area with an IT person on staff. As you all know E-Rate is changing with the launch of EPC(pronounced "epic"), an online portal through which all future E-Rate forms will be filed. I know for many of you this has caused confusion so I want to walk through my experience filling each of these forms in hopes that it will make it easier for you guys to do the same. That being said lets get started.
Today I am going to walk through the Form 470 Application. The Form 470 is where you tell the USAC generally what E-Rate services you would like to have in your library and that you would like financial assistance with. The first thing you should see when you log in to EPC is the landing page. If this is not the case then you will want to click on “Reports” followed by “My Landing Page”. They really need to add a "Landing Page" button at the top since it acts as your home page for this site. Looking under reports is not intuitive. Assuming you have already set up your account you should see your organization and information here. If you do not see your organization here then you need to stop and make sure that has been completed first.
If you do see your origination then you can just go up here and click "Apply Now."
Basic Information - Page 1
This is the first window you will come to and you will notice a progress bar across the top. They have broken the form down into 6 sections.
- Basic Information
- Service Requests
- Technical Contact Information
- Procurement Information
- FCC Form 470 Review
- Certifications and Signature.
The first thing you need to do is review your Billed Entity Information and be sure it is correct. You should have done this when you set up your account but you want to check here just to be sure. If you need to make any changes you will have to go back to your Landing Page by clicking on "Reports" at the top and then “My Landing Page." Once there you would click on your organization and edit the information there. That process is for another video.
If everything is correct then we can move on to creating the Application Nickname. On previous 470s this was called the Applicant’s Form Identifier. This nickname is simply to help you identify the form for better record keeping purposes. In our case I use the form number followed by our initials and the year. That results in “470CEW2016.” Then click “Save and Continue.”
Basic Information - Page 2
On page two you will be reviewing more basic information. Presumably most of you watching this will be of the Applicant Type “Library.” We are a single site public library so this is correct for us. Some of you may be Library Systems in which case this area will indicate that.
Now you will notice that there is also a Number of Eligible Entities field here that currently says one. This number should match question 5c on your previous 470.
There is a known glitch on the form currently. If your Applicant Type and Eligible Entities do not match your previous form 470 you will need to call the USAC Helpdesk at (888) 203-8100. When you call you will need to have your Billed Entity Number(BEN#) so that they can look you up. Tell them that on the 470 your Number of Eligible Entities is wrong and that you are listed as Library System. What has happened is that some libraries have been entered as Library Systems and they have to link your actual library to it. Once they fix this issue you will need to start the form over again. To do this simply click on “Discard Form” and start from the beginning.
Finally confirm your Billed Entity Number and click Save and Continue.
Basic Information - Page 3
This page allows you to tell them if a consultant is assisting you with E-Rate. Your regional staff are not considered consultants in this case. If you are the one filling out the forms then you are most likely the main contact at that library for E-Rate. If you are filling out the form but someone else is the main contact then select "No" and fill in their name. They will need to have an account for you to do this. Most likely you will just select "Yes" and your name and information will be automatically filled in.
Click "Save and Continue."
Service Requests - Page 1
Now here we are at the service requests page. This was Block 2 on your previous 470 and it is where the new form shines... mostly. From what I have been told the majority of us are only doing the Category 1 services which includes telecommunication services and internet connections. If you do need to do Category 2 services please talk to your regional staff or call the help desk. Assuming you are only getting assistance with Category one services check "Category 1" then click "Save and Continue."
Service Requests - Page 2
An RFP is a Request for Proposals. If you do an RFP in needs to be available to all interested bidders and be open for at least 28 days. In our case we do not do RFPs at this library. You can always look at section 8 to see if you needed to do them before. Some of you may need to but that is a discussion to have with your regional staff. If you are unsure please call your regional staff or the help desk. If you are like me you will select "No" and then click "Save and Continue."
Service Requests - Page 3
This page is where you actually tell the USAC what it is that you are interested in. Select “Add New Service Request.”
Under function you will see a drop down box. Click on it. In previous 470s I have been told to add all kinds of things to my requests such as POTTS and other services to be sure I covered all the possible options. I often had 9 or more lines filled in. This form streamlines that dramatically. Rather than breaking out phone lines, alarm lines, and fax lines you can simply select "Voice Services" which covers analogue, digital and other telecommunications services. Internet connections are also simplified as "Internet Access & Transport Bundled" for the vast majority of us. An ISP is and Internet Service Provider. Finally for those of you thinking “I have an alarm or a fax line. Should I select ‘other’?” The answer is no. Those technologies are carried over voice lines. Selecting “Other” will require you to do an RFP.
Lets select "Voice Services." Now you will need to add a quantity. This is the number of lines you want. I will add 5. Then we add the number of entities served. If you do not have any branches this should be 1. If you do have branches then select the appropriate number of entities. In our case we are not having anything new installed and do not need maintenance so I will select "No" on both of those. If you are thinking about getting new lines installed that is a discussion you should have with your regional support staff. Click "Add." Now you see the line for the voice services.
Now lets add an internet connection. Select “Add New Service Request.” Select “Internet Access & Transport Bundled” from the Function dropbox. Enter the number of internet connections that you need under Quantity. Your needs may vary but in my library we need at least 50Mbps so I selected that in the minimum section. As for maximum you can set this as high as you want. I doubt that 25Gbps is even available in most areas but there is no harm in setting a high maximum. I set mine to 25Gbps just for fun.
Do not limit yourself by selecting something like 100Mbps. Charter has bumped our speeds up here twice in the last 2 years and both times they have cut our costs. I was paying ~$195 two years ago for a connection with 50Mbps down. They notified me one day that they boosted my speed to 80Mbps and cut my bill by 40%. Just recently they did it again and I now pay almost a third of what I was paying two years ago for a 100Mbps connection. Who knows if they may bump that speed up again. That is not an advertisement for Charter but the competition in some places is heating up and the cost of delivering higher speeds is dropping. Do not limit your connection by having too low a cap in your E-Rate.
Finally I selected 1 entity, no maintenance, and no installation. Click "Add."
The Narrative is something new. This is so that you can give more detail on what you are looking for or anythings that would disqualify a service in your selection process. In my case I wanted to be sure that they knew I was looking for 2 separate internet connections so I added “We are looking for 5 phone lines and 2 internet connections. One internet connection will be for patron use and the other for staff use.”
Finally it asks if you will be using an installment plan to pay for the construction charges not covered by the E-Rate’s discounted portion. Since I am not doing construction the answer is no. If you are doing construction I suggest talking to the regional staff that will be assisting you. Select "Save and Continue."
This section was question 12 on the previous 470 and allows you to designate a person to be your technical contact. This person should be able to answer more technical questions about your network should a vendor call. In the previous 470 the question was optional because for many libraries they do not have someone on staff. If you do not have a technical person on your staff simply answer "No". The regional staff is not to be put in here. I am the technical person at our library so I answered "Yes." I then selected "Search EPC System", and typed my name into the search box. As you can see my name popped up. I clicked on my name and now my details show up. If you have a technical person but they are not in the EPC system(maybe they are a volunteer) you can add them manually by selecting "Enter Details Manually" or if they are a staff member you can add them to the EPC system. I will show you how to do that in another video.
For now my information is entered and correct so click “Save and Continue.”
State or Local Procurement Requirements was question 13 on the previous 470. You will have to check if there are any local requirements in your area but from what I have been told there are none for the state of Tennessee. I selected “No” then clicked on “Review FCC Form 470.”
Review FCC Form 470
The review will take place in the form of a PDF. When you fist reach this page the circle will be spinning. It does not stop spinning. Every 30 seconds of so just hit the green “Refresh” button and eventually it will show you a link to the PDF. Click on that link and it will download the PDF. We were always told to print a copy of the 470 for our records in previous iterations and this is the time to do that. I save the PDF on our servers as well. Now that the PDF is open I will review it for any errors. Now check the box that says “By checking this box, I certify that the information in the PDF document above is correct.“ Then click “Continue to Certification.”
A popup box will appear that says “This function will send you directly to certification for your FCC Form 470. Do you wish to proceed?” Click “Yes.”
Certify FCC Form 470
This is essentially what used to be Block 5. However almost everything is worded differently now. For example the Applicant Certifications was question 16 and used to have 2 choices. Now based on your system type(library system or school system) they simply have correct line entered and you just have to check the box. The rest of the certifications are not in the same order either and several have changed. I suggest you read each as well as the notice below. All of these will need to be certified.
Once you have certified everything go down to the bottom and click “Certify.”
Again a popup box will show up. “False statements on this form may result in civil liability and/or criminal prosecution. To electronically sign and certify this form, click 'Yes' below. To affirm that you (1) understand the statements above and (2) represent the entity featured, and have the authority to make the certifications, on this form, click 'Yes' below.” Click “Yes.”
You are now done. You can always check on the status of your Form 470 by going back to your Landing Page. To do this click on “Reports” and then “My Landing Page.” Once there simply scroll down to the bottom and you should see your form and its status as certified.
You will notice that I have a voided one here. That comes from when we had errors earlier in the year with the system surrounding that entities issue that we talked about earlier.
If you guys have any questions or comments or want to see more videos like this please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you. Have a great day.