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. In the pages linked below we outline some best practices we’ve seen amongst E-rate applicants for submitting a Form 470 to solicit competitive and flexible provider bids to upgrade their networks.
Download our E-rate Form 470 Checklist for a step-by-step guide with additional tips.
If you are not attaching an RFP, the narrative field on the Form 470 is your only opportunity to describe what you are seeking in detail. Even a short paragraph can supply a vendor the necessary information they need to submit a complete proposal. More details about your narrative
Specifying a particular model without being open to equivalent equipment by different manufacturers can be interpreted as stating a preference, which is a violation of E-rate’s fair and competitive bidding policies.
Please see advice on USAC website for more information.
Do not assume that E-rate rules also satisfy these laws.
If you are attaching an RFP to your Form 470.
Since you are writing an RFP, your Form 470 narrative does not need to be detailed. A simple sentence such as “See RFP for details.” is sufficient.
In the absence of an RFP, a well written Form 470 narrative is incredibly important. Below is some high-quality template language for your narrative if you are seeking leased lit fiber Internet access or WAN connections. As every district is different it is impossible to build a template that is “one size fits all”, so remember to adapt these to meet your own local needs and regulations or contact us for template language specific to your scenario.
Ensure you select the appropriate function for the service your school district is seeking. A definition of these services has been provided.
This field is used to enter the physical quantity of the service you are requesting. In most cases it will be the quantity of circuits, except for the following services:
Enter the minimum bandwidth you require for this request. If you are unsure, a good guideline to use as a minimum is the 2014 FCC bandwidth goal.
Note: This field is not applicable for Leased Dark Fiber or Self-Provisioned service types. However, It is required for Network Equipment and Maintenance & Operations. In these cases, select the speed you are intending to light the fiber at on day one.
Enter the maximum bandwidth you will require within the life of the contract. If you are unsure, a good guideline to use as a maximum is the 2018 FCC bandwidth goal. EducationSuperHighway recommends you select a range of bandwidth speeds that will allow you to upgrade as district bandwidth demand grows.
Note: This field is not applicable for Leased Dark Fiber or Self-Provisioned service types. However, It is required for Network Equipment and Maintenance & Operations. In the case of Network Equipment, think about the expected life of the equipment and select a higher speed you would expect to upgrade to during this life cycle. For Maintenance & Operations, select the maximum speed you expect to have these connections operating at during the life of the service contract.
To ensure you can evaluate all costs equitably across any submitted bids, we recommend you select ‘Yes.’
If you expect special construction charges associated with a service request, it is recommended you select ‘Yes.’
If you select ‘No’ then you will not have to complete the next two questions.
Using the two dropdown boxes, specify the range of years you would like for a payment plan. The first box is for the minimum and the second is for the maximum.
Select ‘Annual’ if you would prefer the payments to be in equal amounts billed once per year. Select ‘Monthly’ if you would prefer equal payments to be billed every month.
Unlike Category 1, there is less guidance to provide on what to request on a Category 2 Form 470. Requirements are going to vary greatly from district to district. However, there is some guidance that can assist you regardless of what you are filing for:
Disclaimer: EducationSuperHighway (ESH) is providing these practices for informational purposes only and not as legal advice. ESH is not licensed to practice law and cannot provide legal advice. This document is not intended to substitute for your judgment. You assume full risk and responsibility for the use of or reliance on these practices or any information you obtain from ESH. ESH does not guarantee that the practices will adequately meet all your needs, and you are solely responsible for your use of this information or any RFPs you issue. For example, ESH’s document likely will not, and ESH makes no representations or warranties that this document will, cover all of the state and local procurement rules that may apply to services your district requests bids for. By using these practices you agree that ESH is not liable for any consequences from such use. If you have any questions or concerns about the contents of your service requests you should obtain legal counsel.