The FCC requires that all E-rate discounted goods and services be competitively bid. Over time, this condition has proven itself to be effective in increasing competition and lowering unit costs.
For E-rate funding year 2022, the E-rate bidding process is now open for schools and libraries. Applicants can notify vendors that they are seeking proposals by posting their FCC Form 470s, and, if necessary, releasing formal RFPs. Currently, the overall count of Form 470s is lower than recent years at this same point, about 24 weeks prior to the deadline for releasing an E-rate RFP. It is the Category One Form 470s that account for the overall lower number of RFPs. (The count of Category Two Form 470s is slightly higher than the past two years at this same point.)
The funding year 2022 funding application window is expected to open in January. While most E-rate competitive bidding requests will be posted later in the fall, it is not too soon to start. Now is a good time for schools and libraries to plan their purchases and begin the competitive bidding process.