On March 30, 2022, Funds For Learning (FFL) met with the FCC to discuss a recently completed study on the efficacy of the E-rate competitive bidding process. Some of FFL discussion items with the FCC included: 1) the fact that the existing E-rate competitive bidding framework is healthy and should not be changed; 2) that the current system encourages local decision making and accountability, while fostering strong competition and lowering prices; 3) that the FCC’s proposal to federalize E-rate procurement would conflict with state and local procurement regulations; 4) that USAC has no experience managing procurement for school and library systems; among other discussion items.
Additionally, FFL shared an in-depth analysis of the past five E-rate funding cycles, highlighting the following data from 2017 to 2021:
- The E-rate process involve 83,994 proposals and 28,925 contracts each year, on average.
- In 2021, the average contract received 3.23 bids. This is up 26% from FY2017.
- Half of Form 470 proposal requests now include detailed bid attachments.
- There has been a 16% reduction in the count of contracts awarded based on fewer than two bids.
- The number of agreements based on month-to-month or tariff pricing has dropped in half.
- The median price per megabit has dropped 71%.
- The average price of wireless access point has dropped 49%.
The full bidding analysis by Funds For Learning can be viewed here.