Schools and libraries are releasing E-rate Form 470 competitive bidding requests for Category 2 projects at a record pace. Requests this fall are up 56% over last year, and well above the recent high-mark set in funding year 2015.
Category 2 discounts refer to on-campus data networks, such as Wi-Fi equipment and network cabling. Funding year 2019 is the fifth year of the Modernized E-rate program. Last spring, 51% of survey respondents indicated that they would need to upgrade their Wi-Fi network within 1-to-3 years. Indeed, it appears that many applicants plan to move forward with those projects in 2019.

Overall Form 470 Landscape
As of the first week of December, the overall Form 470 competitive bidding activity is higher than the previous three years.  The count of Category 1 Form 470s is steady compared to FY2016 through FY2018. In FY2015, there was a large spike in Form 470s for Category 1 services, but the bidding activity has since stabilized.
NOTE: The count of Form 470s reported in this article is based on the estimated funding year associated with each form. In some cases, Form 470s are posted with an inaccurate funding year because of USAC system limitations. FFL takes this into account when reviewing the pace of Form 470 postings. Therefore, the counts above do not strictly correspond to the funding year listed on a Form 470.