February 21, 2020

Funding Year (FY) 2020 FCC Form 471 Filing Window Countdown

The Funding Year (FY) 2020 application filing window is open. The filing window will close on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 at 11:59:59 p.m. EDT.

Days to window close


FY2020 FCC Forms 471 filed


Note, the last day to post an FCC Form 470 for FY2020 and still be able to timely certify an FCC Form 471 is Wednesday, February 26, 2020 (see January 3 SL News Brief).

FY2020 FCC Forms 470 filed


FCC Forms 470 and 471 counts as of yesterday, 9:00 p.m. EST

TIP OF THE WEEK: Be sure to keep copies of your winning and losing bids as part of the documentation for your competitive bidding process. You must retain this documentation to support the information contained in your bid evaluation matrix. Note, service providers are not required to keep copies of losing bids.

Commitments for Funding Years 2019 and 2018

Funding Year 2019. USAC released FY2019 Wave 47 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) on February 20. As of February 21, FY2019 commitments total over $2.22 billion.

Funding Year 2018. USAC released FY2018 Wave 83 FCDLs on February 20. As of February 21, FY2018 commitments total over $2.31 billion.

On the date that FCDLs are issued, you can access your FCDL notification from the Notifications section of your landing page in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC).

Reminders on Certified FCC Forms 470 and Evaluating Bids

February 26 is the last day you can certify an FCC Form 470 and still be able to timely file an FCC Form 471 before the FY2020 application filing window closes. If you wait until February 26 to certify your FCC Form 470, you will have to choose your service provider, sign a contract (if applicable), and certify your FCC Form 471 all on March 25, the last day of the FY2020 application filing window.

Before you close your competitive bidding process, ask yourself these four questions. Note that, depending on your answers, you may need to post a new FCC Form 470.

1. Did I post for the correct service type(s)?

The service types you can post for on an FCC Form 470 are:

  • Data Transmission and/or Internet Access
  • Internal Connections
  • Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections
  • Managed Internal Broadband Services

On the FCC Form 471, you will be required to cite to the FCC Form 470 that requested bids for the same service(s) for which you are requesting funding. You will not be able to cite your FCC Form 470 on an FCC Form 471 funding request if you did not post for the correct service type for that funding request, and you cannot add a service type to a certified FCC Form 470. If you need to post a new FCC Form 470 to include a new service type, you still have time to do so. Remember that, if you are not sure which service type to choose, you can post for both and mention that fact in the narrative section.

2. Did I make significant changes to my project or services?

In general, you should post a new FCC Form 470 if you make one or more significant changes that are outside the scope of your original project or service requests. If they are within the scope of your existing FCC Form 470 and/or request for proposal (RFP) you can explain those changes by posting a new RFP document (see below) to an existing form, but you will have to start a new 28-day waiting period and count the days yourself.

3. Have I issued an RFP document even though I did not attach one to my original certified FCC Form 470?

If so, you must post a new FCC Form 470 and attach the RFP document to that form. As a reminder, an "RFP document" is not necessarily a formal competitive bidding document. It is any document you issue as part of the competitive bidding process that describes your project and/or requested services in more detail than in the fields provided on the FCC Form 470.

4. Do I intend to disqualify bids that do not meet certain requirements?

You may decide that you will only accept bids that meet certain requirements, and disqualify bids that do not meet those requirements. You must state those disqualification reasons in your FCC Form 470 and/or RFP.

Disqualification reasons must be binary – i.e., the bidder or the bid either meets the requirement or does not meet the requirement. Bids that do not meet the requirements can be disqualified and not evaluated further.

Here are some additional considerations:

Receiving one bid – or no bids

If you receive only one bid – or no bids – you can keep your competitive bidding process open and solicit bids, then review and evaluate any bids you receive as a result. Send yourself an email or write a memo to the file noting that you received only one bid or did not receive any bids in case questions come up later (e.g., during a review or an audit). Even if you receive only one bid, the bid must still be cost-effective (see the February 7 SL News Brief).

If you have a current service provider for your recurring services and that service provider has not submitted a bid, you can use a recent customer bill from that service provider as a bid response. You should ask for an email or other documentation from that service provider that they intend to continue to provide services to you at their current rates (or note any changes to those services or those rates) that you can retain as documentation.

Evaluating the bids you receive

To evaluate the bids you receive, you must construct an evaluation. Remember that you must always include the price of the eligible products and services as the primary factor, and that factor must be weighted more heavily than any other single factor in your evaluation. You can also decide what other factors you want to consider in your evaluation and how important each factor is to you. You can use as few or as many evaluation factors as you like, and you can assign percentages or points to the factors you use to reflect their relative importance.

For each bid, you can evaluate how well it meets each of the factors and assign a point value or percentage as appropriate. By totaling the scores for each bid, you can arrive at the most cost-effective bid.

Preparing a bid evaluation matrix helps you evaluate bids and also provides documentation of the process you followed to select your service provider. The USAC website features a sample bid evaluation matrix you can use as a guide.


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