Schools and Libraries (E-Rate)

Step 2 Competitive Bidding

A competitive bidding process is a formal process to identify and request the products and services you need so that potential service providers can review those requests and submit bids for them. To open the process, post an FCC Form 470 to the USAC website. The applicant may choose to, or if required by state or local procurement rules or regulations the applicant must, issue a Request for Proposals or similar document (see below).

The entity that will run the competitive bidding process - which may be you, a state procurement agency, or another entity that you have authorized to negotiate on your behalf with a Letter of Agency (LOA) - files an FCC Form 470 (Description of Services Requested and Certification) and must be prepared to receive and evaluate bids and negotiate with service providers.

Filing an FCC Form 470

The FCC Form 470 for the upcoming funding year is generally available on the USAC website one year before the start of the funding year. Once the FCC Form 470 is available online, it can be filed and posted.

After the FCC Form 470 is posted to the USAC website, USAC will issue an FCC Form 470 Receipt Notification Letter (RNL).This letter features much of the information featured on the form, provides a means to correct certain errors, and discusses the next steps in the application process.

Between the date the FCC Form 470 is posted and the date the Request for Proposal (RFP) is issued, whichever is later, the filing entity must wait at least 28 days from that date before closing the competitive bidding process.

Services provided under tariff or on a month-to-month basis require an FCC Form 470 to be posted each year. However, if a multi-year contract results from the competitive bidding process, it is not necessary to post a new FCC Form 470 until a new contract is required.

If a consultant is assisting you with the application process, provide the appropriate information in Item 7 of your FCC Form 470, including the consultant registration number.

Requests for Proposals

The entity filing an FCC Form 470 can issue an RFP in addition to the FCC Form 470. An RFP is a formal bidding document that describes the project and requested services in sufficient detail so that potential bidders understand the scope, location, and any other requirements. You are not required to issue an RFP unless your state or local procurement rules or regulations require you to do so. If you have issued or intend to issue an RFP, that information must be included on the FCC Form 470 along with information on how to obtain a copy of the RFP.

Open and Fair Process

The entity filing the FCC Form 470 must ensure that the competitive bidding process is open and fair:

  • All bidders must be treated the same.
  • No bidder can have advance knowledge of the project information.
  • There are no secrets in the process - such as information shared with one bidder but not with others - and that all bidders know what is required of them.
  • With limited exceptions, service providers and potential service providers cannot give gifts to applicants.
  • In addition, the value of free services (e.g., price reductions, promotional offers, free products) must generally be deducted from the pre-discount cost of funding requests.

Next Step

Once the competitive bidding process has closed, the entity that filed the FCC Form 470 must evaluate the bids received and select the service provider(s) that will provide the requested services as described in Step 3, Selecting Service Providers.