Form 470 Application Tips
FCC Form 470 "Description of Services Requested and Certification Form" is the first form that must be filed by a school or library in the E-rate application process. Its primary purpose is to briefly describe the applicant, provide a point of contact, and indicate any new telecommunications and technology services that the applicant will be seeking. Much of the information requested is designed to be useful to, and to be made available to, potential vendors.
The important aspect of submitting a Form 470 is that it be filed well before actual contracts, upon which E-rate discounts will be requested, are signed.
Specific discount requests will be made on a second form, FCC Form 471, which should be filed before the end of the application window period for the next funding year. Timing is important because, before new contracts can be signed, the initial Form 470 must be received by the SLD and posted in the SLD’s E-rate Productivity Center (“EPC”) for at least 28 days.
The rules for determining the eligibility of existing and new contracts for E-rate purposes are quite precise and must be carefully followed.
A more complete discussion of these rules and the implications for applicant purchasing procedures is provided under Contract Timing Issues.
Detailed instructions for completing a Form 470 can be found:
- In the Apply for E-rate section of the SLD Web site.
In addition to the Apply for E-rate section, videos tutorials may be found:
- In the FCC Form 470 Video Services of the SLD Web site.
Tip 1: Make sure to file the FCC Form 470 prior to 28 days before the close of the FCC Form 471 filing window.
- Filing with less than 28 days before the Form 471 deadline requires you to file the Form 471 late. Filing the Form 471 late then will require an FCC Waiver which may or may not be granted.
- File as early as possible. This gives you time in case you realize you need to add or amend your request.
- The contact person should be responsible for responding to questions from the SLD on the application. If someone else is best equipped to handle technical inquiries from vendors, that person should be listed as the “ Technical Contact”.
Tip 3 : In the Narrative section, be as broad and inclusive as possible in summarizing needs or services requested.
- It is better to “over” rather than “under” request on your Form 470. If you’re unsure about whether it you’re going to seek X product or service, it is best to seek it on the Form 470. You are under no obligations to purchase anything on the Form 470.
- “To assure full consideration, bids and/or information requests must be submitted via email and directed to <Insert Contact name and email> while referencing the nine-digit Form 470 number to which you are responding. Subject to contract restrictions, services may be re-evaluated for cost-effectiveness at any time during the year. Bids for services requested, therefore, will be accepted for at least 28 days after the posting of this Form 470. As required by E-rate rules, all bids in response to this Form 470 must offer the Lowest Corresponding Price (LCP). See http://www.usac.org/sl/service-providers/step02/lowest-corresponding-price.aspx.”
- Most NYS public schools can use the following language:
"Public work and purchase contracts for public schools in New York State are governed by the provisions of Sections 103-109 of the State's General Municipal Law. Public schools may also purchase equipment and services under publicly bid centralized procurement contracts administered by the State's Office of General Services or under cooperative bidding contracts administered by local boards of cooperative educational services ('BOCES ')."
- There are no opportunities to edit the Form 470 itself (aside from its Nickname). Your best option is to add an addendum to the Form 470’s RFP(s). However, you MUST have an RFP (or placeholder document) uploaded in order to use this feature.
- The RFP feature in EPC allows you to upload ANY kind of document for the public to view. It does not necessarily have to be a formal RFP. Uploading a document allows you to add addendums at a later point in time. This is helpful if for example, you have Q&A’s you want to share for all vendors to review.
- If you don’t have an RFP, upload a placeholder document which can simply read, “No RFP is being issued.” However, if any updates to the Form 470 are made they will be made public as an addendum to this “RFP”.”
- You cannot pre-determine the winning bidder. Program rules require a fair and open competitive bidding process which includes waiting 28 days before selecting a winning vendor. Stating that you want to work with a specific vendor on the Form 470 will lead to denial.
- You may indicate a preference in manufacturers for Internal Connections but you must fairly evaluate functionally equivalent equipment.
- Add narrative language in the Form 470 stating, “If bidding functionally equivalent equipment, please provide supporting documentation with your bid response demonstrating its functional equivalency.”
- If you select “Other” in the Internal Connections dropdown menu, be sure to add the text “or functionally equivalent” if you specify a manufacturer.
- If you mention a specific manufacturer in your RFP, include the words “or functionally equivalent”. Failure to do so may lead to denial.
Tip 8: Ask a neighboring district or library for ideas if you’re not sure what to request on the Form 470.
- Many smaller schools or libraries may not know what equipment to purchase. It may be convenient to ask the vendor who installed your existing network or services what to buy but it is not recommended. If USAC is informed that a vendor helped create your Form 470, they will view this as giving a competitive advantage to a specific vendor which will result in a denial.
- Instead ask colleagues at neighboring schools or libraries for ideas. Alternatively, you can post an Request For Information (RFI) to have many vendors submit ideas about improving your network without jeopardizing your E-rate funding.
- The “Save and Share” feature in EPC is akin to track and field relay events. By using this feature you are passing the baton to someone else. Once someone accepts the Task, you will not have access to the form unless they “Save and Share” it again.
- The best alternative to the “Save and Share” feature, is the ability to “Review Form 470” in .pdf form. Share the .pdf if you want a colleague to review your work this way you remain in control.
- EPC does not have the functionality to cancel Form 470s.
- If for some reason you need to redo your Form 470, e.g. new buildings for which services were desired were mistakenly omitted, edit the “470 Nickname” to “Cancelled” to notify vendors of the change.
- Score bonus points if you have already created the new Form 470 and can update the old Form 470’s nickname to “Cancelled see new Form 470 #<insert new 470 #> for updated specs”.