Time to File Your Form 470 for FY 2014!
November 13, 2013
~ The FY 2014 Form 471 Window dates have not yet been set, but USAC has indicated that the estimated window opening will be in early January, with a close date in mid-late March. ~
Purpose of the Form 470
The Form 470 opens the competitive bidding process whereby schools and libraries identify and request the products and services they need and will be requesting E-rate discount for, so that potential service providers can review your requests and submit bids for them.
Who Must File a Form 470?
Unless you are under a multi-year contract (that was originally competitively bid using a Form 470) that expires on or after June 30, 2015, YOU MUST POST A FORM 470 FOR EVERY SERVICE FOR WHICH YOU ARE SEEKING E-RATE DISCOUNTS. If you posted a Form 470 in a previous year, and then signed a multi-year contract that expires on or after June 30, 2015, you are not required to file a Form 470 for FY 2014. If you wish to exercise a voluntary extension of a contract without posting a 470, you may only do so if your contract contains the terms of the voluntary extensions (meaning the exact number of years or dates that the extensions can be exercised and it's not just open-ended). Otherwise, you must post a Form 470 to extend the contract.
When to File Form 470
Although the very last possible date to file a 470 is 29 days before the 471 window closes, do not wait this long to file. I encourage everyone to file their 470's before you leave for Thanksgiving recess. You will then receive vendor questions/proposals during the month of December, can evaluate your bids and select your vendors in January, have your board approve contracts in January or February (if required by local policy), and then sign your contracts and file your 471 in February or early March. In mid-December, I'll be sending out a list of districts that haven't yet posted their 470's, so if you don't want to be on the list, file soon! Simply go to: http://www.sl.universalservice.org/menu.asp and click on 'Create Form 470.'
Important Change to the Form 470
As you may recall from last year, applicants may post for Priority 1 services in EITHER the telecommunications services bucket OR the Internet access bucket on the Form 470. So if you post for webhosting under telecom, or cellular service under Internet access, they won't be denied. Applicants will still be required to choose the proper category on the Form 471, but if they don't, this can be corrected. This change is only for Priority 1 services; Priority 2 service still must be posted in the correct category. The Form 470 itself will be updated in the next month or so to combine the categories into a single Priority 1 (telecom/Internet) category.
List Disqualification Reasons in Item 13
If you want to disqualify vendors, you must list those disqualification reasons in Item 13 of your Form 470 (or in your RFP).
Must Bid "Equivalent" Products for Internal Connections
Applicants must list "or equivalent" language on the Form 470s for Priority 2 services and equipment. For example, you cannot say, "HP 2510 Switch," but you are permitted to say, "HP 2510 Switch or equivalent." Any bids received with comparable equipment must be considered in your bid evaluation. If you don't use these words, USAC will deny your application.
Below are some helpful reminders:
1) File online, even if you don't have a PIN. If you haven't received a PIN, file online, and then mail in your signature/certification page after you hit submit. The SLD will then mail you a PIN in a few weeks. There is no way to request a PIN unless you have first signed a paper certification.
2) Include all of your services on a single 470. There is no maximum number of 470's that you may submit, although it is a good idea to place all of your services on a single Form 470 because then you only have a single 470 number to keep track of for this year. However, there is no harm in filing two or more 470's. Also, there is no way to amend a 470 after it's been submitted. If you need to change your services, you need to file a new Form 470 (in which case your 28-day clock restarts).
3) Instead of using the print preview feature, after you've submitted your Form 470, go back to the "apply online" page and choose the "search posted" option. Then type-in your 470 number and print off a complete, clean copy of your application. At the top of the completed form it also will show you your allowable contract date (ACD), which is the first date you can sign contracts and file your 471.
The SLD's 470 guidance can be found at: http://www.universalservice.org/sl/applicants/step02/default.aspx.
If you have any questions, please contact me at email@example.com. Happy Filing!
Julie Tritt Schell
PA E-rate Coordinator
717-730-7133 - o
717-730-9060 - f