Rural Health Care

Step 5 Evaluate Bids/Select SP

After the FCC Form 461 (Request for Services Form) has been posted on the USAC website for a minimum of 28 days, the applicant must evaluate all bids received to determine which service provider can provide the most cost-effective services that meet the applicant’s requirements.

Evaluation criteria submitted with the FCC Form 461, or listed in the RFP, must be used to evaluate bids and select a service provider. Developing the criteria in advance helps ensure that all service providers are evaluated by the same standards and helps USAC understand how the applicant made its decision.

Applicants must consider all valid bids received during the competitive bidding period and must document how they evaluated each bid. All applicants subject to competitive bidding are required to certify to USAC that the services and/or infrastructure selected are, to the best of the applicant’s knowledge, the most cost-effective option available.

"Most cost-effective" is defined by the FCC as the method that costs the least after consideration of the features, quality of transmission, reliability, and other factors that the applicant deems relevant to choosing a method of providing the required services.

Sign a Service Agreement

Once the service provider has been selected, the applicant may enter into a service agreement or sign a contract with the selected provider on or after the Allowable Contract Selection Date (ACSD), the 29th day after the FCC Form 461 has been posted. Applicants that enter into a contract or service agreement before the ASCD will be denied funding.

Service contracts must clearly identify:

  • The service provider(s) selected and the HCP(s) who will receive the services;
  • The service, bandwidth, and costs for which support is being requested; and
  • The term of the service agreement, if applicable (i.e., if services will not be provided on a month-to-month basis).