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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

New Form 486 online

For those of you that haven't heard, the new online Form 486 is available.

I took it for a little spin this afternoon, and I like it. I got a couple of errors, but that's not unusual for me; I must have some security setting somewhere that doesn't agree with the USAC's applications, because I get an error most of the time when I use the "Submit a Question" system, and occasionally get them when I use other tools.

The bottom line: I was able to submit and certify a Form 486 pretty quickly. Much more quickly than the old fill-in PDF or the Interview.

A feature I'd like to see in version 2.0: automatically pre-populate Item 7, so I don't have to type in anything. If Item 7 listed all the FRNs for the applicant, with a start date of July 1, 90% of applicants would just click "Next" and be done. For the few that need to take out an FRN or change a date, that would be much quicker than adding an FRN.

(By the way, at the USAC training last week, Mel Blackwell said that he wants more pre-population in all the application tools. Bravo!)

One big problem: The "Display" button will only display forms that were submitted using the new tool. So there is still no way to display a 486 that was entered in the past. That's got to be fixed, preferably in version 1.1.

But all in all, kudos to the USAC IT folks on another tool well done.

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