A multi-year contract may be designated by USAC as “evergreen” in both the HCF and Telecom Programs, meaning that the applicant need not annually re-bid the services by posting an FCC Form 461 (HCF Program Request for Services Form) or FCC Form 465 (Telecom Program Description of Services Requested & Certification Form) for the life of the contract and up to five years of voluntary extensions. USAC designates a contract evergreen when it covers a period of more than 12 months and is designated as evergreen by USAC. Evergreen contract status is not required to receive funding.
How a Contract Becomes Evergreen
Applicants may request that their contract be reviewed for evergreen designation when they submit the contract with an FCC Form 462 (HCF Program Funding Funding Request Form) and FCC Form 466 (Telecom Program Funding Request and Certification Form). For evergreen consideration, the multi-year contract must meet the following criteria:
|Criteria for Evergreen Contract Designation|
|Both parties are identified|
|HCP signed AND dated contract|
|Specifies service type, bandwidth, quantity, and terms of services|
|Specifies the term of the contract|
|Specifies the cost of services to be provided|
|Includes the physical addresses or other identifying information of the HCPs purchasing from the contract|
If you would like to submit a contract for evergreen designation, upload the contract with your FCC Form 462 or Form 466. USAC reviewers will confirm that the contract meets the necessary requirements and will notify you if you have been granted evergreen designation in your Funding Commitment Letter (FCL). Please note that you are unable to use the evergreen contract competitive bidding exemption when filing your funding request unless your contract has already been designated as evergreen.
HCF Program Evergreen Contracts
If you have an evergreen contract, you must submit the FCC Form 462 for every funding year in which funding is requested under the terms of the contract, unless you are approved for a multi-year funding commitment. Multi-year funding commitments can be approved for a maximum of 36 months. If the contract has been designated as evergreen and exceeds 36 months, you must file a new FCC Form 462 to receive additional funding and, thereafter, may request multi-year funding in up to 36-month increments until the end of the contract.
If you have a multi-year contract not designated as evergreen, you must file the FCC Form 461 and participate in competitive bidding once your funding commitment has expired. For example, if your multi-year contract spans five years, funding can be committed for the first 36 months, but you would file a new FCC Form 462 for the remaining 24 months. At the end of that 24 months, you would be required to go through competitive bidding for any future funding requests.
Telecom Program Evergreen Contracts
If you have a multi-year contract that is designated as evergreen, you are not required to submit the FCC Form 465 or participate in competitive bidding for the life of the contract, but you must submit the FCC Form 466 for every funding year in which funding is requested under the evergreen contract.
If you have a multi-year contract that is not designated as evergreen, you must file the FCC Form 465 and participate in competitive bidding for every funding year in which funding is requested under the terms of the contract. You also must submit the FCC Form 466 for every funding year in which funding is requested under the terms of the contract.
In-Contract Purchases and Upgrades
With an evergreen contract, you are only permitted to add new locations, exercise voluntary contract extensions, and upgrade services without additional competitive bidding if the language for the modification is included in the contract and was contemplated in your competitive bidding documents. You must initiate a new competitive bidding process for any modification falling outside the scope of your evergreen contract. For more information about the competitive bidding exemptions for contract modifications, visit the Contract Modifications section of the USAC website.
You must request funding for additional services or upgrades on an evergreen contract when you submit the FCC Form 462 or 466.
Using a Telecom Program Evergreen Contract in the HCF Program
If you have previously participated in the Telecom or Internet Access Program and had a contract designated as evergreen, you may seek funding for services provided under that evergreen contract through the HCF Program without undergoing additional competitive bidding, as long as the services are eligible for support under the HCF Program and you comply with all other program rules and procedures.
You may exercise voluntary options to extend an evergreen contract without undergoing additional competitive bidding if:
- the evergreen contract includes the option for voluntary extensions,
- the decision to extend the contract occurs before you file the FCC Form 462 or Form 466 for the funding year when the contract would otherwise expire, and
- the voluntary extension(s) do not exceed five years in total.
Note: you must have requested any voluntary extensions in the original FCC Form 462 or Form 466 submitted when the contract received the evergreen designation.
Evergreen Contracts Ending Mid-Fund Year
If your contract ends before the end of the funding year (June 30th), you must post a new FCC Form 461 or 465, allow for the 28-day competitive bidding process, and submit a new FCC Form 462 or 466 to request funding for the remainder of the funding year.
The material on these webpages is provided for general information only and should not be relied upon or used as the sole basis for making decisions without consulting the RHC program rules, orders, and other primary sources of information. Applicants and service providers are ultimately responsible for knowing and complying with all RHC program rules and procedures.