The Schools and Libraries Division has posted a new message on its Web site, underscoring several important messages to applicants for the 2004 filing season. Among the key messages:
• Applicants must ensure a fair and open competitive bidding process. (Price must be given the greatest weight of all the factors considered when bids are reviewed.)
• The Form 470 application or RFP must define the specific services or functions for which funding will be sought. RFPs and other solicitation methods must be tailored to the applicant's own needs. "Use of a generic RFP or generic FCC Form 470 used successfully by another applicant" does not comply with the competitive bidding process, the SLD said. RFPs and competitive bidding processes that are structured to favor one service provider undermine the competitive bidding process.
• If an applicant files a Form 470 for newly eligible services, such as voice mail, and did not include those services in its RFP or description of services, the applicant must file a new Form 470 to seek discounts on those services. If the applicant is operating under a multi-year contract and it did not include those services when it filed originally, it must file a new Form 470 to cover those services.
• The Service providers cannot be involved with the filing of the Form 470 application. Applicants that believe a service provider was improperly involved with a Form 470 application that they have already filed are advised to call the SLD to cancel that form and file a new application.
• With the exception of services provided at tariffed rates or under permissible month-to-month arrangements, applicants must sign a contract with their service provider before they sign and submit a Form 471 application. Applicants may be called on to demonstrate that they have a contract in place.
The SLD also reminded applicants that beginning with the 2004 funding year, the applicant will be able to require its service providers to use the billing method of its choice, whether through discounted invoices or the Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) process.
The full report is available at https://www.usac.org/sl/applicants/step01/form-470.aspx.