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Form 470 Best Practices

As you put out your request or bid for increased broadband bandwidth, driving competition and flexibility will ensure that you can obtain better service without significantly increasing cost. In the sections below we outline some best practices we’ve seen amongst E-rate applicants for submitting a Form 470 to solicit competitive and flexible provider bids to upgrade their networks.

Disclaimer: EducationSuperHighway (ESH) is providing these practices for informational purposes only and not as legal advice. ESH is not licensed to practice law and cannot provide legal advice. This document is not intended to substitute for your judgment. You assume full risk and responsibility for the use of or reliance on these practices or any information you obtain from ESH. ESH does not guarantee that the practices will adequately meet all your needs, and you are solely responsible for your use of this information or any RFPs you issue. For example, ESH’s document likely will not, and ESH makes no representations or warranties that this document will, cover all of the state and local procurement rules that may apply to services your district requests bids for. By using these practices you agree that ESH is not liable for any consequences from such use. If you have any questions or concerns about the contents of your service requests you should obtain legal counsel.

Instructions to applicant (District): This document is meant to provide guidance for you to customize the information to meet your needs; ESH encourages you to modify the sections to make it your own. If you are issuing an RFP for the requested service, use the RFP Tips and Samples page of the toolkit.

Five Top Tips for Filing your 470

  1. Always request a range of bandwidths - the minimum should be the current bandwidth your school needs and the maximum should be an estimate of what your school could potentially need in 3-5 years. As a guide, SETDA and the FCC adopted goals that indicate schools should provide 1 Mbps per student for Internet access by 2018.
  2. Make sure your narrative explains your detailed requirements, including technical, commercial and service related components, to ensure that you are getting the best possible service and complete pricing information.
  3. Make sure you understand the potential for state match funding if you are considering using special construction to build out infrastructure to a school, and consider filling out an RFP in addition to your Form 470 to ensure your requirements are fully captured.
  4. Be sure you request all-inclusive pricing so you can accurately compare bids.
  5. Make sure you reduce as many barriers for providers as possible - for example, proactively notify them and send them a link to your 470 once it’s posted so they don’t have to search for it in the system.

Form 470 application guidance

There are a number of critical sections in the 470 form. Completing these sections in a way that gets you the best possible future outcome can make a significant difference in the value of your broadband investment.

Note that if you intend to purchase off a state contract you may not have to file your own Form 470. Please see this news brief published by USAC on April 14, 2017 for more information.

Service Request Section Input Guidance

Ensure you select the appropriate function for the service your school district is seeking. For Internet access service, the functions bolded below should be selected. A definition of these services has been provided.

  • Transport Only - No ISP Service Included
    • Data connection between two or more sites entirely within the applicant’s network (District WAN)
    • Data connection(s) for an applicant’s hub site to an Internet Service Provider (ISP) or state/regional network where Internet access service is billed separately
  • Cellular Data Plan/Air Card Service
  • Cellular Voice
  • Dark Fiber - both leased dark fiber and an IRU
  • Internet Access & Transport Bundled - Internet access service that includes a connection from any applicant site directly to the ISP
  • Internet Access: ISP Service Only - Internet access service with no circuit (data circuit to ISP state/regional network is billed separately)
    • This service refers to buying only Internet bandwidth with no physical transport circuit. Do not confuse this service request with Internet Access & Transport Bundled.
  • Lit Fiber Service
  • Other - Use this function to request category 1 eligible network equipment or fiber maintenance services with a dark fiber or self-provisioning request.
  • Self-provisioning
  • Voice Service (Analog, Digital, Interconnected VOIP, etc)

Enter the physical quantity of the service you are requesting:

  • Transport Only - No ISP Service Included - quantity of circuits
  • Dark Fiber - quantity of fiber strands per site
  • Internet Access & Transport Bundled - quantity of circuits
  • Internet Access: ISP Service Only - not applicable
  • Lit Fiber Service - quantity of circuits
  • Self-provisioning - autofills to "Detailed in RFP"
Minimum Capacity Enter the minimum bandwidth your school district needs. For basic connectivity, SETDA and the FCC adopted minimum connectivity goals for school districts to provide 100 kbps per student. To calculate this, multiply the number of students enrolled in your school district by 100, then divided by 1000 to get the amount in Mbps. Rounding up to the nearest 100 Mbps provides you the minimum connectivity you should request.
Maximum Capacity Enter the maximum bandwidth your school district will need in 3-5 years. By 2018, schools will need to provide 1 Mbps per student as indicated by the goals adopted by SETDA and the FCC . EducationSuperHighway recommends you select a range of bandwidth speeds that will allow you to upgrade as district bandwidth demand grows. After calculating how much 1 Mbps per student will be, rounding up to the nearest 100 Mbps interval provides you with an upper bound of capacity to request so you can upgrade as needed.
Number of entities served? Enter the total number of schools and/or buildings that will be served by the services requested.
Are you also seeking Installation, Activation, and Initial Configuration for this service? To ensure you can evaluate all costs equitably across any submitted bids, we recommend you select ‘Yes.’
Are you also seeking Maintenance and Technical Support for this service?: To ensure you can evaluate all costs equitably across any bid submitted, we recommend you select ‘Yes.’

Use this section to describe the services you are requesting in more detail. Below is sample language you may wish to use for your narrative, tailoring the language to the needs of your school district.

If you are attaching an RFP to your Form 470:

The narrative does not need to be as detailed since all relevant information is contained in the RFP. An example:
We are seeking [describe services here] for the entire district. See attached RFP for details.

If you are not attaching an RFP:

The following documents contain samples language for lit fiber requests that do not have an RFP. Remember that any Form 470 indicating leased dark fiber or self-provisioned fiber must be accompanied by an RFP even if your local/state procurement rules do not require one . Furthermore, it is highly recommended that any Form 470 requesting only lit fiber solutions that may include any special construction also be accompanied by an RFP.