Promoting Fair and Open Competitive Bidding in the E-Rate Program Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM)
Based on recommendations of the federal General Accounting Office (GAO) and Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reduce fraud risk in the E-rate program, the FCC proposes to make multiple changes to the competitive bidding rules of the E-rate program and to:
- Require that all bids be submitted from service providers to the third-party E-rate program Administrator, the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), via a bidding portal and not directly to the E-rate program applicants (eligible schools, libraries, and consortia) who are seeking such bids; and
- Prohibit all communications between bidders and E-rate program applicants outside of the USAC bidding portal during the competitive bidding process; and
- Require that all documents supporting the competitive bidding process be submitted to USAC at the time the annual FCC Form 471 application for funds is certified, inclusive of evaluation documents.
We encourage program stakeholders to comment on these proposals, and specifically to address if these measures will impose hardship on E-rate program participants, if the proposals conflict with state and local bidding requirements, and/or if the requirements would impact your organization's ability to continue to participate in the E-rate program!
Comments are due April 27, 2022 and Reply Comments in support of or against initial Comments are due May 27, 2022.