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A competitive bidding process is a formal process to identify and request the products and services you need so that potential service providers can review your requests and submit bids for them. To open the process, you post an FCC Form 470 to the USAC website and – if the applicant chooses to or if required by state or local procurement rules or regulations – issue a Request for Proposals or similar document (see below).
The entity that will run the competitive bidding process – which may be you, a state procurement agency, or another entity that you have authorized to negotiate on your behalf with a Letter of Agency (LOA) or similar document – files the FCC Form 470 (Description of Services Requested and Certification) and must be prepared to receive and evaluate bids and negotiate with service providers.
The FCC Form 470 for the upcoming funding year is generally available online on the USAC website a year before the start of the funding year. FCC Form 470 can be filed for a particular funding year as soon as it becomes available online.
The entity filing the FCC Form 470 must wait at least 28 days after the date that the FCC Form 470 is posted and the date the RFP is issued, whichever is later, before closing the competitive bidding process.
Services provided under tariff or on a month-to-month basis require an FCC Form 470 to be posted each year. If, however, a multi-year contract results from the competitive bidding process, it is not necessary to post a new FCC Form 470 until a new contract is required.
If a consultant is assisting you with the application process, provide the appropriate information in Item 7 of your FCC Form 470, including the consultant registration number.
After the FCC Form 470 is posted to the USAC website, USAC will issue an FCC Form 470 Receipt Notification Letter (RNL). This letter features much of the information featured on the form, provides a means to correct certain errors, and discusses the next steps in the application process.
The entity filing an FCC Form 470 can issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) in addition to the FCC Form 470. An RFP is a formal bidding document that describes the project and requested services in sufficient detail so that potential bidders understand the scope, location, and any other requirements. You are not required to issue an RFP unless your state or local procurement rules or regulations require you to do so. If you have issued or intend to issue an RFP, that information must be included on the FCC Form 470 along with information on how to obtain a copy of the RFP.
The entity filing the FCC Form 470 must ensure that the competitive bidding process is open and fair:
With limited exceptions, service providers and potential service providers cannot give gifts to applicants.
In addition, the value of free services (e.g., price reductions, promotional offers, “free” products) must generally be deducted from the pre-discount cost of funding requests.
Once the competitive bidding process has closed, the entity that filed the FCC Form 470 must evaluate the bids received and select the service provider(s) that will provide the requested services as described in Step 3, Selecting Service Providers.