Let’s talk state master contracts and mini-bids

Post 18 Let's talk state master contracts and mini-bids

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.

E-rate applicants can choose to use the provider(s) on their state’s master contract, if available. If the state posted an FCC Form 470, you do not have to post one but can reference the state’s FCC Form 470 on your FCC Form 471. If your state did not post an FCC Form 470, however, you must post one and can then consider your state’s master contract as a bid to your form.

Not sure if your state has a state master contract? Contact your state’s E-rate coordinator.

How to use a state master contract

Choose the services you’d like to use from your state’s master contract and then apply for funding using the FCC Form 471. You will need the specifications of the contract for your FCC Form 471. To get a summary or copy of your SMC to upload into the contract record you create in your profile, contact your state’s E-rate coordinator or procurement office.

Mini bids

If your state awarded contracts to multiple service providers as a result of its posted FCC Form 470 and competitive bidding process, you must first conduct a bid evaluation of all the service providers for those contracts who are able to provide services to your area. We call this evaluation process a “mini-bid.”

  • You do not need to conduct a mini-bid if only one service provider is able to provide the service you need. For example, if three service providers sign contracts with the state pursuant to the state-filed FCC Form 470 but only one of them can provide service in your geographic location, a mini-bid is not required.

A “mini-bid” is different from the usual competitive bidding process because it compares providers that were already awarded a state master contract. A full competitive bidding process is when you post your own FCC Form 470 and evaluate the bids you receive.

How to conduct a mini bid evaluation

To conduct a mini-bid, first determine the factors to use in your evaluation (we outlined this in a previous post about evaluation criteria), with the price of the eligible products and services as the most heavily-weighted factor. Then, score the service providers and choose the most cost-effective bid.

  • You do not need to post an FCC Form 470 to conduct a mini-bid. However, you must retain documentation providing evidence of the mini-bid evaluation process and the service provider selection. See this sample bid evaluation matrix to learn how.

At all times, you must comply with any state or local regulations around competitive bidding, as well as the FCC’s regulations. If you have any questions during the process, call our team at (888) 203-8100.

Our next post is on document retention, an important requirement to keep in mind during the entire filing process, but especially during competitive bidding.

Editor’s note: If you submitted FCC Form 470 on the same day we wrote about it on the blog (March 3), then at this point you’ll be in the 28-day waiting period. During the 28-day period, we’re covering general information about program rules and topics that are important to know about. We’ll begin posting about FCC Form 471, the funding request form, starting the week of April 4.

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