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Form 470 Requirements Need Clarity

As noted in this analysis, the number of Form 470 postings is ahead of last year. This is both a blessing and a curse. It is encouraging to see that more applicants are able to post RFPs earlier this year. But at the same time, there are significant questions still yet to be answered regarding USACs new Form 470. As previously noted, this new form requires applicants to specify the technology to be utilized in delivering their service. Many applicants are interested in procuring solutions, and not specific technologies. For example, a library may require a gigabit internet connection to their main facility. In prior years, that library could have simply outlined their connectivity requirements. Today, that same request requires the library to identify the specific means by which the internet access will be delivered (i.e. via fiber optic cable or other means). Not knowing what the ultimate outcome will be, applicants are now forced to select all the potential options, or risk a funding denial later during the application review.

It was good to see to see that USAC announced this week there will be training in Washington D.C. in October. But a meeting by itself will not be enough. It is imperative that the FCC and USAC provide clear direction to applicants. Empowering applicants to request the goods and services that they need in the manner and format that it best suits them is key to maintaining the program’s rich history of fair and open competition

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