Step 3: Winning the Bid
After an applicant has chosen your bid as the most cost-effective service offering for one or more of the services requested on an FCC Form 470 and/or request for proposal (RFP), you can assist the applicant with the remainder of the application process.
Applicants can receive services under tariff or a month-to-month arrangement where a contract is not necessary. They can also sign a contract for one or more years, or a contract with voluntary extensions.
Please note the following:
- If a contract is signed, the services provided under that contract are considered contracted services, even if they are provided under tariff or on a month-to-month basis.
- Applicants and service providers must have a contract or legally binding agreement in place for contracted services before an FCC Form 471 is filed.
- Eligible products and services that fall under the Internal Connections and Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections service types are usually provided under contract, and not under month-to-month or tariff arrangements.
- In general, non-recurring services must be delivered and installed between July 1 of the relevant funding year and September 30 following the June 30 close of that funding year (i.e., 15 months after the beginning of the funding year). Keep this in mind when determining the contract expiration date for these services. Special construction, which is also a non-recurring service, must be delivered and the network must be lit or in use by June 30 of the applicable funding year.
Review the posted information on contracts, state master contracts, and state replacement contracts. In the case of state replacement contracts, states (and applicants that rely on the state replacement contracts) must follow the specific steps for services provided under those contracts to be eligible for discounts.
After reviewing contract information, take the following steps.
Obtain a SPIN (498 ID)
Obtain a Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN), also known as the service provider’s 498 ID, by filing an FCC Form 498 (Service Provider and Billed Entity Identification Number and General Contact Information Form) in the E-File system if you have not already done so. Be sure to keep the information on this form updated, as both USAC and applicants rely on it to contact you and to process information.
File an FCC Form 473
File an FCC Form 473, (Service Provider Annual Certification (SPAC) Form), for the upcoming funding year. This form contains certifications that you must make in order to participate in the program. USAC cannot pay invoices for a funding year until this form is submitted for that funding year. The SPIN Search tool shows the funding years for which USAC has processed an FCC Form 473 for your SPIN.
Assist the Applicant
Assist applicants with the remainder of the application process. For example:
- The FCC Form 471 (Description of Services Ordered and Certification Form) filed to request Schools and Libraries (E-rate) Program support, must include a detailed description of the products and services to be received. You can offer to assist applicants with filling out the “Funding Requests” section of the FCC Form 471.
- This form also requests information on the numbers of internet connections and their speeds, which applicants may not know.
- Funding may be reduced or denied if applicants miss certain deadlines, especially those for the FCC Form 471 and FCC Form 486. You can remind applicants to file these forms on time.
- USAC issues an FCC Form 471 Receipt Acknowledgment Letter (RAL) to both the applicant and the service provider in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) after an FCC Form 471 is certified. You can subscribe to receive electronic notifications to receive the information in certain USAC notifications electronically. The letter contains many of the details submitted on the form and provides a means to correct mistakes. If you notice incorrect information on the RAL, notify the applicant so corrections can be made.
- Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) reviewers at USAC review submitted FCC Forms 471 for compliance with program rules, and may have questions about technical aspects of the services featured on the forms. Service providers can assist the applicant in preparing responses to USAC’s questions except for questions about the applicant’s service provider selection process.
- USAC understands that some of the information requested during application review could be considered to be proprietary or sensitive commercial and financial information. Applicants and service providers can request confidential treatment of information under the FCC rules.
Once applicants have completed PIA review and USAC has issued funding decisions in one or more Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) in EPC, you can begin preparations to provide discounted services for the commitments that feature your SPIN.