Today, USAC announced that to minimize potential disruptions caused by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau had directed it to extend the deadline for applicants to submit their FY 2020 FCC Form 471 applications by an additional 35 days. E-rate applicants now have until Wednesday, April 29, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. EDT to submit their FY 2020 FCC Form 471 applications. They also directed USAC to provide all applicants with an automatic, 14-day extension for Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) requests. Read the public notice announcing the action here.
Although the Form 471 deadline is April 29, remember that you must wait at least 28 days after your FCC Form 470 is certified before choosing a service provider, signing a contract (if applicable), and completing and certifying an FCC Form 471. Wednesday, April 1, 2020, is now the last day to certify your Funding Year (FY) 2020 FCC Form 470 to allow for the required 28 days and still certify your FY2020 FCC Form 471 before the application filing window closes on Wednesday, April 29, 2020. So, applicants who have not yet filed their Form 470 should be sure to start now.
Here we outline three essential resources to help you successfully navigate the E-rate process and avoid common pitfalls.
1. Form 470 Guides & Templates
Our upgrade toolkit provides a set of resources designed to help you identify, procure and implement scalable and affordable Internet connections in every school. As well as outlining some of the best practices we’ve seen amongst E-rate applicants, we provide advice on how you can secure funding and take advantage of E-rate and State Match to support your upgrades.
For those who are yet to start their Form 470 to solicit competitive and flexible provider bids to upgrade their networks, our new E-rate Form 470 Checklist provides a step-by-step guide that outlines key steps and considerations as you prepare to file.
As you put out your request for network upgrades, driving competition and flexibility will ensure that you can obtain better service without significantly increasing cost, so be sure to check out our top filing tips and narrative examples for Category 1 and 2 upgrades.
2. Customizable RFP Templates & Guidance
EducationSuperHighway maintains and frequently updates quality RFP templates that can help you get started structuring your Category 1 or Category 2 RFP. Writing an RFP and attaching it to your Form 470 is required when:
- Your state or local laws require one
- You are bidding any of the following Category 1 services:
- Leased Dark Fiber with or without special construction
- Self-provisioned networks
- Network equipment
- Maintenance & operations
Additionally, we advise you to write an RFP in circumstances where the Form 470 narrative box is not enough to adequately describe your needs (even though it is not required). As always these are free to download and adapt to meet your own local needs and regulations. You can also contact us for template language specific to your scenario.
3. Learning & Support
Any network upgrade can be challenging, so whether you are making the switch to fiber, looking to scale existing network infrastructure or upgrade your internal connections, we can help. With specialized network knowledge and procurement expertise, our team of highly qualified experts provides advice and technical assistance to help you maximize federal and state funding and implement your upgrade. We also share the latest tips and best practices through our on-demand webinars and training videos
We are committed to helping school district leaders with your broadband upgrades at no cost and can help you:
• Plan for your current and future bandwidth needs
• Compare what you pay with similar districts
• Use our templates to develop your Form 470/RFP
• Research and strengthen your provider options
• Translate your bid options for leadership buy-in
• Negotiate your contract
Thousands of school districts have already taken advantage of the free support we provide as part of our promise to upgrade the Internet access in every public school in America.
To speak to a member of our team, contact us today.