Network Plan

Consortia applicants must submit a narrative describing specific elements of their network plan with the FCC Form 461 (Request for Services Form). The network plan is separate from the request for proposal (RFP) and is not part of the scoring matrix. You must include a network plan with the FCC Form 461 regardless of the consortium’s decision to submit an RFP.

If you are exempt from competitive bidding (e.g., have an evergreen contract), you must include the current network plan when submitting a new FCC Form 462 (Funding Request Form).

Use this printable checklist to ensure you meet all network plan requirements.

Network Plan Requirements

The network plan must include the following:

  1. Goals and objectives of the proposed network
    • Describe the goals and/or objectives of the network,
    • Explain how the consortium will use the requested services,
    • State why the consortium wants the services.
  2. Strategy for combining the specific needs of health care providers (HCPs) (including providers that serve rural areas) within a state or region
    • Provide a description or strategy of how the consortium will combine the broadband network needs of the participating HCPs to create a cohesive network.
    • Indicate whether the consortium is regional, state-wide, or spans a group of states to ensure that service providers bidding for services understand the network and its specific needs.
    • Describe the needs of participating HCPs located in rural or remote areas.
  3. Strategy for leveraging existing technology to adopt the most efficient and cost-effective means of connecting those providers
    • Describe how the consortium plans to use an existing network to adopt a cost-efficient means to connect to the service providers.
    • Describe the consortium’s existing network and how the current network will supplement the needs of the consortium and ensure a cost-effective strategy.
  4. Description of how the supported network will be used to improve or provide health care delivery
    • Describe how the plan will use the broadband network to improve or provide health care delivery (or telemedicine). For example, this section can include examples of transmitting medical documents, charts, or x-rays via internet, or using the network to video conference with physicians in remote clinics.
  5. Description of any previous experience in developing and managing health information technology (including telemedicine) programs
    • Describe any consortium staff experience with the delivery of health care information technology or telemedicine programs.
    • Describe the current management team’s experience with developing and managing health information technology and telemedicine programs. This will ensure that USAC and service providers understand your ability to manage the consortium’s network expansion.
  6. A project management plan outlining the project’s leadership and management structure, and a work plan, schedule, and budget
    • Describe the project’s management structure or leadership. Include a work plan and a schedule for the work plan. The schedule should include approximate dates for work to begin, installation dates, etc.
    • The budget should describe how the consortium will fund the remaining 35% of the total cost of the services.
    • Identify who will be working with the service provider to implement services and define leadership roles within the consortium team.

Updating the Network Plan

Any changes made to the network plan, project management plan, work plan, schedule, and budget must be submitted with the FCC Form 462 (Request for Services Form).

If not previously provided with the project management plan, you 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).

For the consortia that include a sustainability plan, the revised budget should include the budgetary factors discussed in the sustainability plan requirements (54.643(a)(6)(iv)).

Finally, the consortium must provide a list of the relevant information for each participating HCP. This list should include eligible (and ineligible, if applicable) cost information for each participating HCP. USAC may reject submissions that lack specificity to determine that costs are eligible.

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.