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Schools and libraries are not required to write or develop a separate technology plan. However, the approved plan must include a sufficient level of information to validate the purpose of a universal service request. An approved technology plan does not have to include the specific details required on the FCC Form 470 (Description of Services Requested and Certification Form), the FCC Form 471 (Description of Services Ordered and Certification Form), the FCC Form 486 (Receipt of Service Confirmation Form), and the FCC Form 500 (Adjustment to Funding Commitment and Modification to Receipt of Service Confirmation Form).
The information submitted on those forms should build on the foundation provided by the approved technology plan, by documenting specific implementation details and operational steps being taken under the plan. That information will be considered a refinement of the plan as long as the requested services can be supported by the plan.
All approved technology plans should include provisions for evaluating progress toward the plan's goals, and ideally these assessments should occur on an annual basis. A technology plan should be responsive to new and emerging opportunities, open to review and not a static document. If you find that your technology needs change and you want to order services beyond the scope of your existing plan, you must prepare and submit a new plan for approval.
Approved technology plans should cover a period of not more than three years. In view of the rapid development cycle of new technologies and services, schools and libraries should approach long-term commitments with caution. However, long-range planning may be important in the case of some lease-purchase arrangements or very large capital investments that require extended commitments. There may also be cases in which an approved plan is longer than three years to conform to federal, state, or local requirements. Whenever an approved plan is longer than three years, there should be a significant review of progress during the third year.
A technology plan must be written – including all required elements – at the time the FCC Form 470 is filed. Currently approved plans that cover at least part of the upcoming funding year and support the services that will be requested on the FCC Form 471 meet this requirement. Also, an applicant that purchases services from a state master contract and cites the associated state-filed FCC Form 470 on the funding request is not required to have a written technology plan before the state filed its FCC Form 470. Technology plans must be approved before the start of service. Applicants are required to formally certify on FCC Form 486 that the technology plans on which they based their purchases were approved before they began to receive service.