Rural Health Care

Step 4 Prepare for Competitive Bidding

Conflicts of Interest

To avoid potential conflicts of interest and to ensure that the competitive bidding process is open and fair, applicants should be aware of three basic principles:

  1. Entities that wish to submit bids against a posted FCC Form 461 are prohibited from also:
    • Preparing, signing, or submitting an applicant's FCC Form 461;
    • Serving as a point of contact on the applicant's behalf;
    • Being involved in developing bid evaluation criteria; and,
    • Participating in the bid evaluation or service provider selection process.
  2. Potential bidders must have access to the same information, and must be treated in the same manner throughout the competitive bidding process. If an applicant modifies the FCC Form 461 or related supporting documents submitted and posted by USAC, the updated documents must be provided to USAC immediately to update the information on its website.
  3. Applicants and service providers must comply with applicable state or local competitive bidding requirements.

Certain entities may be large enough to ensure both an organizational and functional separation between staff acting as the service provider and staff providing application assistance. State organizations, public sector entities, or nonprofit entities requesting an exemption from the prohibition against providing application assistance and acting as a service provider must confirm to USAC that it has set up an organizational and functional separation by providing documentation such as an organizational flow chart, budgetary codes, and supervisory administration. The exemption must be obtained from USAC prior to preparing the FCC Form 461 and supporting documentation.

The applicant is required to identify consultants, service providers, or other outside experts, whether paid or unpaid, who aided in the preparation of the FCC Form 461 in Block 4 of the FCC Form 461, "Declaration of Assistance."