What is the CABIO Bidding Exemption?

January 26, 2022

Attached: CABIO Bidding Exemption Guide

I’ve received several questions recently about the E-rate CABIO Form 470 bidding exemption and decided a dedicated message (and a Guide!) about CABIO was long overdue.

A little-known Form 470 bidding exemption exists for schools or libraries that are purchasing a “commercially-available Internet package.”  The option, better known as CABIO (Commercially-Available Business Class Internet Option), is mostly geared to small schools and libraries that are using cable modem, FIOS or DSL Internet services.  To use the CABIO option, it must meet all of the following conditions:

  • Must cost $3600/year or less ($300/month), before E-rate discounts.  Cost must be based per building and cannot be averaged across multiple buildings.  This cost also includes any taxes, fees, equipment rental or installation charges.
  • Minimum speed must be at least 100 Mbps downstream and 10 Mbps upstream.
  • “Commercially Available” means that it is publicly available to non-residential customers (such as enterprise, small business, or other government customers) in the same form and at the same rates that it is offered to schools or libraries.  In layman’s terms, I believe this means an internet service that is available on a vendor’s website for its business customers.

If the Internet access service you have or that you’re seeking qualifies for the CABIO option, you may skip the Form 470 bidding step and proceed to the Form 471.  When the form asks if a Form 470 was posted, select NO, then indicate that 0 bids were received.  Applicants may sign contracts for the CABIO option and if a contract is signed, they should first create the Contract Record in EPC prior to starting the Form 471.  If no contract is signed and the applicant is simply procuring services on a month-to-month (MTM) basis, they can proceed directly to the Form 471.

Attached is a CABIO Guide that explains the requirements and provides screenshots for how to file the Form 471 if you’re using the CABIO option.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

– Julie

Julie Tritt Schell
Pennsylvania E-rate Coordinator
717-730-7133 – o

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