Form 471 Guidance & PIA Review
After you have negotiated with your vendor and signed a contract, you will have to file a Form 471 to officially request E-rate funding for your new service or equipment purchase. After this form is filed, it will undergo a process known as program integrity assurance (PIA) review where USAC will decide if it will provide the funding you requested on your Form 471.
Form 471 Tips
Information required to fill out a Form 471 such as service provider name, contract length, type of service, and the related costs can easily be found on the contract you signed. An important field for each funding request on your Form 471 is the narrative. This is where you can provide more details or relevant information for the services you are seeking that may not be clear in the other fields you must fill out. Providing more detail in the narrative box can help reviewers make a decision on your funding request much quicker. Additionally, there are a few other tips for the Form 471 that can save you a lot of time and frustration in the future. Read more about the Form 471 on the USAC website.Include all necessary funding requests on the same Form 471
When your project requires multiple funding requests (for example, leased dark fiber service and the equipment to light it), all the funding requests need to be on the same Form 471. If you are not requesting funding for an expected component (for example, you already own the necessary equipment to place leased dark fiber into service), you should mention this fact in your narrative.
|If you are requesting||USAC will expect to see individual funding requests for the following on the same Form 471:|
|Leased Lit Fiber with special construction||
|Leased Dark Fiber without special construction||
|Leased Dark Fiber with special construction||
Category 1 special construction details
When requesting any funds for special construction associated with an eligible Category 1 service, you will be asked to supply more details on the construction costs. It is extremely important to answer these questions accurately in order to save you time during PIA review.
|Total Project Plant Route Feet||This measure only accounts for newly deployed fiber, and should not include any existing fiber. For example, if the total project covers 150,000 feet but 5,000 feet is existing infrastructure that will be spliced to the newly deployed fiber, the response to this field would be 145,000 feet.|
|Average Cost per foot of outside plant||This will equal the “Total Special Construction Charges” divided by “Total Project Route Feet.” If total special construction charges are $5,000,000.00 for 145,000 feet special construction, then the response in this field should be $5,000,000.00/145,000 feet = $34.48/foot.|
|Total Strands||Enter the total number of strands installed at the time of construction. For example, if the build is segmented into a backbone segment with a 48 strand cable and a lateral segment with a 12 strand cable, then the response for this field would be 60 strands. You can provide additional explanation in the narrative field.|
|Number of E-rate Eligible Strands||Enter the total number of strands that will be lit within the current funding year and are for the exclusive use of eligible E- rate entities. Using the example above, if 12 strands are being lit in the backbone segment and 8 strands in the lateral segment for the exclusive use of the E- rate eligible entities, then the response to this field would be 20 strands. If this number is less than the number in Total Strands, you must have an ineligible cost listed on the funding request.|
Category 2 allocations
When filling out the necessary information on your Form 471, it will ask you to list the Recipients of Service for each service you are requesting funds for. For Category 2 requests, it is extremely important to accurately list which schools will receive the listed service. Since Category 2 budgets are calculated per-school, incorrectly listing a school as a recipient of a funding request could deplete its budget for a purchase it is not receiving. While this type of error may be caught during PIA review, it saves time to make sure this is correct when the form is filed.
Reminder: you have to file separate Form 471’s for Category 1 and Category 2.