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Form 470 Wrap-Up Step 1: Selecting Your Vendors
Selecting Vendors

After the Form 470 is posted, there is a mandatory 28 day (minimum) waiting period during which vendors may submit proposals to you for consideration and/or contact you for more information relating to the services you listed on your Form 470. Then, on the 29th day that your Form 470 was posted or after, you may select a vendor, sign a contract and submit the Form 471 to request E-Rate funding for those services.

If contacted by a vendor about a specific service listed on a 470, applicants are required to provide relevant information to prospective vendors so they may submit solid proposals for consideration. Do not simply ignore these inquiries as it would be a violation of the E-Rate competitive bidding requirements. Applicants are encouraged to keep a log of all vendor inquiries and the responses to these inquiries. However, generic emails from vendors saying that the service provider can provide the general type of service requested is not considered a good faith response to a Form 470 posting and can be considered 'spam' and ignored by the applicant. In addition, inquiries from "brokers" or mass e-mails that are not specific to your 470 are not considered legitimate inquiries by USAC.


Below is a compilation of some frequently asked questions regarding vendor selection.

1. What should we do if we received no bids for a service listed on our 470?

If you do not receive any bids after your 28-day waiting period, you can contact service providers to solicit bids and can then review and evaluate any bids received as a result. However, remember that if you post a new FCC Form 470, issue a new Request for Proposal (RFP), or amend your existing RFP, you start a new 28-day waiting period.

If the Form 470 is for an existing service, you can choose to remain with your incumbent provider. You are not required to seek more than one bid, but if you only get one bid, you must make sure that it is cost effective.

Memorialize what occurred by writing a memo for your files (or email to yourself. The memo should include the following:

"At the conclusion of the Form 470 28-day waiting period, we did not receive any bids. We subsequently contacted [LIST OF VENDORS]."

2. What should we do if we only receive one bid for a service listed on our 470?

You can solicit additional bids.

Or, if the bid is cost-effective, you may choose to accept the one bid received. Memorialize why you selected the vendor you did by writing a memo for your files (or email to yourself) explaining why you selected that particular vendor. The memo should include the following:

"At the conclusion of the Form 470 28-day waiting period, we only received one bid, which was from [VENDOR]. We reviewed the bid for cost effectiveness and selected [VENDOR] as the provider for [DESCRIPTION OF PRODUCT OR SERVICE] to our entity."

3. What should we do if our existing vendor did not submit a bid?

You may use a recent invoice from your existing provider as a bid response and evaluate that invoice with the other bids received.

4. Do we have to select the lowest bid?

No. You are just required to select the lowest responsible bid after you have completed a bid evaluation process. Keep in mind though that price of eligible services has to be the most heavily weighted factor, which means for example that if you have 3 criteria that you judged the proposals on, the price of eligible services must be at least 34% of the total weight. Many other factors besides price may be considered (for example, vendor qualifications/experience, in-state preference, existing relationship with school, references from other school customers, cost of ineligible services/equipment such as new cell phones required to run on vendor's network). Keep all of the bids received and the tool you used to evaluate bid responses as proof that you selected the lowest responsible bid.

5. Are you required to respond to vendors that contact you after the 28-day waiting period?

No. But you may do so as long as you afford all vendors the same opportunity.

6. Are you required to meet with vendors?

No. But you may do so as long as you afford all vendors the same opportunity.

7. Is there anything we can do during this 28 day waiting period?

You are permitted to reach out to vendors and encourage them to submit proposals in response to your Form 470 posting.

8. When can I file a Form 471?

If your 28-day waiting period has already expired (meaning your Allowable Contract Date has passed) and the Form 471 filing window is open, you may submit your Form 471 if you have conducted your bid evaluation, selected your vendor(s), and signed a contract (unless you are just purchasing on a month-to-month basis).