The E-rate competitive bidding season is here in earnest and applicants have begun to post their Form 470s’s to the SLD website. While it is not an E-rate requirement that applicants formally release RFP’s along with their Form 470’s, applicants must follow their own state and local procurement laws in conjunction with the FCC regulations. As a reminder, if an applicant releases an RFP along with their Form 470, the RFP must be uploaded into the SLD’s E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) or the funding will be denied. Applicants are also cautioned that any addendum or change to the RFP must also be uploaded into EPC in order to stay in compliance with the new E-rate rules.
Applicants may have believed they conducted a fair, open and competitive bidding, but based on a Funds For Learning analysis, applicants in FY 2016 are beginning to get denied because of this very issue. This is the SLD denial explanation we have begun to see for FY 2016 applicants:
You provided a Request for Proposal (RFP), as well as addendum issued. The addendum contained the list of schools receiving services. This information is needed for potential bidders to respond to the RFP. When an applicant adds to and/or modifies the RFP or similar documents, the applicant must post this information on the E-rate Productivity Portal for all potential vendors. Documentation demonstrates that the RFP addendum was not posted to EPC; therefore, the addendum was not available for all service providers to review. In order to ensure a fair and competitive bidding process, the FCC Form 470 and RFP or similar documents must be posted/and made available to all potential bidders. Therefore, this FRN is being denied.
For those applicants that have yet to start their E-rate procurement, please think about starting the competitive bidding process for
E-rate eligible services soon.
A Form 470 is submitted to the Schools and Libraries Division (SLD), to start the the competitive bidding
process. Applicants must wait a minimum of 28 days before selecting a winning bid. However, after an applicant waits 28 days and has selected a service provider, they may need to negotiate a contract; get school board approval; and complete the Form 471. Applicants are encouraged to start this process soon in order to have enough time to evaluate bids, get school board approval if needed, negotiate and sign contracts and prepare and submit the Form 471 before the FY 2017 filing window closes. Applicants can explore Funds For Learning’s E-rate compliance services to help alleviate their stress tied to the E-rate application process or send inquiries to email@example.com.