Voice Service, Data Switches, Wi-Fi Lead in 470s
Filing a Form 470 serves as a notification to vendors that a school or library is interested in receiving discounted goods and services. To date, approximately 5,600 Form 470s have been posted, representing about one-sixth of the estimated 35,000 forms that will be submitted for FY2016.
For Category 1, landline and cellular phone is by far the most requested service. This continues a trend observed in the FY2015 funding request data, as well as a nationwide survey of applicants: schools and libraries seem as connected to telephone service as ever, and many are now struggling to deal with the budget ramifications of the FCC’s decision to phase down its support.
Noteworthy: “Self-provisioned” networks are remarkably few and far between in the current competitive bidding cycle. In fact, there are nearly four times as many Form 470s posted for cellular data plans (which are ineligible in almost all circumstances) than there are self-provisioning projects currently posted.
For Category 2, there is a trio of leaders: network switches, wireless access points (WAPs) and data cabling. As of this date, over 50% of the Category 2-related Form 470s have included at least one of these three functions.
Interestingly, the current distribution of FY2016 Form 470s closely mirrors the distribution of final dollar amounts submitted on FY2015 funding applications. Although this may be coincidence, it is likely an indicator that the FY2016 demand for Category 2 goods and services will follow a similar pattern as FY2015.