PEPPM E-rate Bidding Information for Schools

January 20, 2015

For schools that have opted to use the PEPPM Contract as the procurement option for their E-rate Category 2 applications, the following procedures must be followed.  A few initial notes:

  • If you are using PEPPM, you should NOT file a Form 470 as we filed a Form 470 for PEPPM when the contract was competitively bid in the fall of 2014 (info below).  This means that for purposes of E-rate your contract is the PEPPM contract and the Form 470 you use is the PEPPM Form 470.
  • I realize this is not the easiest process and I appreciate your patience as we work through any unanticipated wrinkles in the coming weeks.  I assure you that all of these steps are required and are listed because of E-rate rules.
  • If you do not wish to use PEPPM, you may file your own Form 470 (and RFP if the total purchase price is over $19,400).  Keep in mind that you must accept bids from equivalent product lines (E-rate rule) from the lowest responsible bidder (PA law).   See my email of December 18 at for more information on Category 2 bidding options.

Conducting the PEPPM Mini-Bid: 

E-rate rules require that if you are using a master contract such as PEPPM where more than one vendor can provide “equivalent” equipment, you must conduct a mini-bid among all product lines in that ”Category” of equipment.  We have defined Categories to mirror the Eligible Services List as:

  • Wireless Equipment/Services
  • Switches
  • Routers
  • Cabling/Connectors
  • Firewall Equipment/Services
  • UPSs; and
  • Caching Servers

The list of all PEPPM E-rate eligible product lines, identified by Category, is attached to this message (A).  The list also is posted on the PEPPM website at and will be updated as additional details become available.  The list shows the following information:

ü  Manufacturer Name (Product Line)

ü  PEPPM Awarded Vendor Name

ü  PEPPM Contract Award Date (note:  these are not identical)

ü  Awarded Vendor Contact Name, Title, Phone & E-mail

ü  A column for each Category.  To see the product lines for a particular Category, simply click on the Filter icon at the top of the column and uncheck the “blank” box.  That will show just the product lines with an X, indicating that they have products in that particular Category.

When conducting the mini-bid, schools will have 2 options:

1)  You can search the 2015 PEPPM Product Line Price Lists for the specific product lines in the Category for “equivalent” equipment pricing (this assumes you already know what specific equipment is equivalent to the exact products you’re seeking).

  • Price Lists can be found by using the “Product Line” alphabetical list on the left toolbar, then selecting “Current Price List” under Product Line Information on the Product Line’s specific page.  Using those prices, you may proceed with a bid evaluation to select the successful vendor.
  • Vendors are not e-mailed separately to ask for quotes to be submitted—since you have already determined which products lines are equivalent to your preferred product line.

2)  You can e-mail all of the vendors with awarded product lines in the specific Category and seek pricing proposals for your specific equipment list.

  • We recommend providing vendors with a deadline of either 7 or 10 calendar days.
  • We also recommend providing vendors with your equipment list broken down by building, if possible. A sample equipment bid list is attached to this message (B).  If installation/configuration is required, be certain to include that on your bid list.
  • A sample mini-bid cover e-mail to vendors is attached to this message that outlines many suggested requirements for all vendors, and specifically for the winning vendor (C).
  • Using the prices contained in the vendor proposals submitted by the required deadline, conduct a bid evaluation to select the successful vendor.
  • If a vendor has not responded with a quote by your established deadline, you are not obligated to consider that vendor’s equipment in your evaluation.

Conducting the Bid Evaluation:

  • Price of eligible equipment/services must be the most heavily weighted factor, but you may consider other factors such as previous experience with the District, references, cost to train or certify staff on new equipment, etc.  So if you have 4 bid evaluation factors, price of eligible equipment/services must be weighted at least 26%.
  • Attached to this message is an Excel file containing 2 worksheets — a sample bid evaluation matrix, and a sample completed bid evaluation matrix — which you are welcome to use and modify (D).

After the Winning Product Line Has Been Selected – If there are Resellers:

  • Each PEPPM product line has been awarded to a single vendor, however, in some cases Awarded Vendors will identify Authorized Resellers that are bound by the PEPPM contract terms and conditions.  Where resellers can/must be used, applicants must review all of the Authorized Resellers and document in their bid evaluation a valid reason why they selected a particular Authorized Reseller.   A valid reason could include: proximity to the district, previous experience with the district, possesses an E-rate SPIN number, has E-rate experience, high references from other schools, etc.
  • To determine if the Awarded Vendor has authorized resellers, review the “Vendor Contacts and Ordering Instructions” file of the Awarded Product Line.

After the Winning Vendor or Reseller Has Been Selected:

  • Inform the winning vendor/reseller in writing that they have been tentatively selected to provide your E-rate Category 2 equipment and services.  Explain that the order is contingent upon E-rate funding, and a purchase order will be issued after receipt of the E-rate Funding Commitment Decision Letter (FCDL).   Ask the vendor/reseller to submit a formal quote on vendor letterhead (if you don’t already have it), or ask them to complete the Form 471 Item 21 Template that can then easily be uploaded to the Form 471.  Templates can be found at:, with the most common templates that will be used being Item 21b (internal connections) and Item 21d (basic maintenance of internal connections).  EVEN IF YOU DON’T UPLOAD THE TEMPLATE, YOU WILL BE REQUIRED TO DATA-ENTER THE INFORMATION INTO YOUR FORM 471, SO IT IS IN YOUR BEST INTEREST TO HAVE THE VENDOR CREATE THIS FOR YOU.
  • No separate contract is required to be signed because the PEPPM contract IS the contract.

Note regarding Prevailing Wage Act: PA public school entities are required to comply with the Prevailing Wage Act for public works projects done under contract and paid for in whole or in part out of the funds of a public body where the estimated cost of the total project is in excess of $25,000.’  In speaking with several knowledgeable school officials, they believe that structured cabling projects costing more than $25,000 would be required to comply with the Prevailing Wage Act.  You will want to check with your school district solicitor to determine if he or she believes the Prevailing Wage Act applies and if so, be sure to have vendors submit appropriate pricing in their proposals.

PEPPM-Related Information for the Form 471, Block 5:

  • 12a – Form 470 #:  245730001240230
  • 13 – SPIN #:  Use the SPIN of the Awarded Vendor or Reseller
  • 15b – Contract #:  2015 PA PEPPM Contract
  • 15c - Yes – Check This Box
  • 18 - Contract Award Date:  Use the date from the Category Spreadsheet for the Selected Product Line
  • 19a – Service Start Date:  7/1/2015 (use this for ALL FY 2015 FRNs)
  • 19c – Contract Expiration Date:  12/31/2017
  • 19d – Contract Extensions?:  Yes.  1 extension remaining. Total possible contract length is 48 months.

If you have any questions, please contact me at

– Julie

Julie Tritt Schell

PA E-rate Coordinator

717-730-7133 – o
717-730-9060 – f



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