Last week, we introduced our E-Rate series and discussed how to open the bidding process. In this second post in our E-Rate series, I’m going to talk about Step 2: evaluating the bids you’ve received.
Once the Form 470 has met the 28-day mark, you are ready to close the competitive bidding process and evaluate the bids received. The heaviest weighted factor considered must be the price of eligible services and products. Any other factors you would like to evaluate each bid against would be up to you, and there are no limits to how many can be included.
In some cases, applicants may receive one bid or no bids at all. It is okay for an applicant to solicit bids if this is the case. This helps to ensure they are receiving the lowest corresponding price and that they are requesting the most cost effective options available. Documentation should be provided on how the evaluation was handled and what factors each bid was held up to. This helps USAC to see what you considered when evaluating the bids.
Services can be received under tariff, on a month-to-month basis, or on contract. If you have chosen to receive services under month-to-month or tariff, an FCC Form 470 must be posted each funding year. However, if you chose a contract that results in multiple years, an FCC Form 470 only needs to be posted when that contract has expired. Contracts are allowed to have the option of voluntary extensions. If you’re eligible, you can also purchase services on a State Master Contract. Once you have selected the winning Service Provider you are ready for next step: FCC Form 471!
We’ll be back next week to break down Step 3.