Rural Health Care

Step 4 Prepare for Competitive Bidding

Network Plan

Consortia applicants must submit a narrative describing specific elements of their network plan with the FCC Form 461. The network plan is separate from the request for proposal (RFP) and is not part of the scoring metric. All consortia applicants must include a network plan with the FCC Form 461 regardless of the consortium's decision to submit an RFP. The network plan must include all of the elements listed below.

If an applicant is using a competitive bidding exemption (i.e. evergreen contract) for their FCC Form 462, they must include an updated network plan when filing a new FCC Form 462 submission.

Use this printable checklist to ensure you include all required elements in your network plan.


The network plan must include:

  1. Goals and objectives of the proposed network
  • The network plan must address the goals and/or objectives of the consortium, how the requested services will be used, and/or why the consortium is competitively bidding for these services or planning to expand their network capabilities.
  1. Strategy for aggregating the specific needs of health care providers (including a provider(s) that serve rural areas) within a state or region
  • The network plan must provide a description or strategy of how the consortium will aggregate the broadband network needs of the participating health care providers to create a cohesive network.
  • Indicate whether the consortium is regional, state-wide, or spans a group of states to ensure service providers bidding for services understand the network and its specific needs.
  • If the participating health care providers are located in rural or remote areas, provide a description of the needs of these participants.
  1. Strategy for leveraging existing technology to adopt the most efficient and cost effective means of connecting those providers
  • The network plan must provide a description of how the consortium plans to use an existing network to adopt a cost efficient means to connect to the service providers.
  • Provide a description of the consortium's existing network and how the current network will be used to supplement the needs of the consortium and ensure a cost effective strategy.
  1. Description of how the supported network will be used to improve or provide health care delivery
  • The network plan must provide a brief description detailing the plan to use the broadband network to improve or provide healthcare delivery (or telemedicine) to the health care providers. For example, this section can include examples of medical documents, charts, or x-rays that are transmitted via internet, or the plan regarding how the network will be used to video conference with physicians in remote clinics.
  1. Description of any previous experience in developing and managing health information technology (including telemedicine) programs
  • The network plan must provide a brief description of any consortium staff experience with the delivery of health care information technology or telemedicine programs.
  • Include a description of the current management team and their experience with developing and managing health information technology and telemedicine programs. This will ensure that USAC and service providers understand the background and ability to manage the consortium's network expansion.
  1. Project management plan outlining the project's leadership and management structure, and a work plan, schedule, and budget
  • The network plan must provide a brief description of the project's management structure or leadership as well as a work plan and a schedule for the work plan (including approximate dates for work to begin, installation dates, etc.), and the budget available to fund the remaining 35 percent of the total cost of the services.
  • The project's leadership and management structure should identify who will be working with the service provider to implement services as well as defining leadership roles within the consortium team.

Updating the Network Plan

After submitting the FCC Form 461, applicants can decide to modify their network plan. Revisions made to the project management plan, work plan, schedule, budget, or any other changes to the network plan must be submitted with the FCC Form 462 (Request for Services Form). If not previously provided with the project management plan, applicants must also provide (or update) a narrative description of how the network will be managed, including all administrative aspects of the network (including but not limited to invoicing, contractual matters, and network operations).