If you submitted an FCC Form 470 on the same day we wrote about it here on the blog (March 3), your form has been posted for more than the required 28 day minimum, and you can begin evaluating the bids you received and select a service provider.
A state master contract (SMC) is a contract that is competitively bid and implemented by a state government which can then be used by eligible entities within the state to procure products or services, or both. To establish a state master contract, a state conducts a competitive bidding process, selects one or more service providers for their state, and signs a contract(s) with the provider(s) selected. A state may or may not have posted an FCC Form 470.
While you are waiting to receive bids during the 28-day time period (which can be longer than 28 days but not shorter), you should establish your evaluation criteria for choosing a service provider* and use them to create an evaluation matrix. This way, you’ll be ready to easily evaluate the bids you receive after the 28-day period ends.
A key feature of E-rate’s competitive bidding rules is that the school/library buyer remains “open and fair” throughout the process. This means that there can be no secrets, exclusivity, or special treatment with any of the vendors providing offers to you.
It means that all bidders are treated the same, and all have access to the same information.
Competitive bidding starts when you submit an FCC Form 470 and ends at least 28 days later, when you evaluate bids, select a vendor, and begin filling out your FCC Form 471.
The steps to the E-rate Program’s competitive bidding process are:
A lot of non-profit and government organizations use competitive bidding to make sure they get the best value when they’re purchasing a new product or service, and the E-rate Program requires it!
Competitive bidding is a formal process to identify the products/services you need, and allow vendors to submit bids to provide them. The goal of competitive bidding is to attract as many bidders as possible, so you can receive better service and a lower price. For E-rate, you also need to remain fair and open so all vendors have an equal opportunity to win you as a customer.