The FY2019 version of the Form 470 includes new “drop down” options for defining the types of services for which bids are being sought. In Funding Year 2018, many applicants were confused by conflicting USAC guidance regarding which option(s) were to be selected from the drop-down menus for certain types of service, resulting in a letter from the FCC instructing USAC not to deny applications which chose “incorrect” line items but otherwise complied with the program’s competitive bidding rules. The new Form 470 line items are intended to mitigate confusion for applicants seeking bids for both fiber and non-fiber Internet and WAN services. USAC provided further guidance on the new line items in their June 29 News Brief, as well as a “reference table” on their website.
Historically, a majority of Forms 470 are filed in the two months preceding the annual “deadline” (28 days before the Form 471 deadline.) However, program rules allow applicants to file Forms 470 at any time during the year. In each year, applicants who like to get started on the E-rate process early as well as those who have lengthy procurement cycles will file a number of Forms 470 in the summer months prior to the procurement “busy season.”