Once evaluation criteria and supporting documentation have been prepared (discussed in Step 4), the next step is to file the FCC Form 461, Request for Services Form. This form allows the applicant to describe its service needs and request bids for services from service providers. Applicants are required to file the FCC Form 461 unless their request for services meets one or more of the competitive bidding exemptions.
Only an officer, director, or authorized employee of the applicant can sign, certify, and submit forms to USAC. If the applicant wishes to allow a third-party to sign, certify, and submit FCC forms to USAC, a third-party authorization must be submitted to, and approved by USAC prior to the submission of the FCC Form 461.
The FCC Form 461 can be submitted as early as 180 days before the beginning of the funding year, and must be posted on USAC's website for at least 28 days before the applicant signs a contract with a service provider and submits the FCC Form 462. An applicant that decides to extend the bidding period after USAC posts the FCC Form 461 should notify USAC promptly so that USAC can update its website posting with notice of the extension.
Applicants using an RFP will need to submit the RFP along with the FCC Form 461. Network plans may also be submitted as part of the FCC Form 461 submission.
Next, USAC will send a posting confirmation to the applicant which will include the posting date and the date that the applicant can enter into a contract with the selected service provider. This date is called the Allowable Contract Selection Date (ACSD).
The ACSD is the day after the FCC Form 461 posting end date. Applicants that select a service provider and sign a contract before the ACSD will be denied funding.
The FCC Form 461 must be submitted through My Portal, the Rural Health Care (RHC) Program's application management system.