Form 470 is the first of three required forms (470, 471, and 486) in a funding cycle. Form 470 should be done prior to the end of December and may be done as early as the first day of the school year. This form “advertises” for services that you want E-Rate to pay for in the upcoming funding year.

Before you can submit Form 470, you need to have a Budget Inventory Analysis (BIA). This BIA covers the year you are applying for on your Form 470 and will serve as your created tech plan date.

Form 470 Links

Some General Advice on Filing Form 470

File your Form 470 early and online, but submit no later than December 31.

Applicants that file early have additional time to make allowable corrections or file a new Form 470 if the corrections needed cannot be accomplished through the Receipt Notification Letter (RNL) correction process. Applicants that file online have additional advantages:

  • The online system provides error messages and suggestions to assist you through the process (be sure to disable any pop-up blockers before you start).
  • Your Form 470 will be posted to the USAC website quickly, allowing you to start your 28-day clock. Paper forms must go through a data entry process at USAC and the forms cannot be posted until inconsistencies have been corrected and the data entry process completed.
  • You will receive your Form 470 RNL more quickly, and can identify and submit error corrections more quickly.

Understand the difference between Priority 1 and Priority 2 requests. All Telecommunications and Internet Access services are considered Priority 1 and will be funded ahead of all Priority 2 requests nationwide. Priority 2 is called Internal Connections and includes all purchased equipment and any infrastructure within a building, such as wiring, etc. Equipment which is used to operate a LAN is considered Priority 2. When all Priority 1 funding is disbursed across the country, SLD begins funding Priority 2 requests from the largest discount rates down, until the funding available for the year runs out. The effect of this order of funding on an applicant depends on the discount rate it is entitled to. If the discount rate is lower than 80%, it would be prudent not to depend heavily on receiving the funding for Priority 2. It may or may not be funded.

For services that are on-going (local and long-distance phone service and/or monthly Internet service) but do not have formal contract, file a 470 as soon as possible. Ongoing services without a formal contract must be listed on a 470 every year. Although most phone services are tariffed or month-to-month, and so reposted every year, it is possible to sign a contract to get better pricing. If you have a formal signed contract for phone service, treat it as any other multi-year contract.

Any ongoing contracts for any kind of service which have already been listed on a 470 in some previous year and are valid through the entire period of the application year should not be listed on a 470 at all.

Block 2

All requests on Form 470 should be traceable back to your current technology plan, not to a sales call or service offer.

Do not describe requests on either a 470 or RFP in terms of specific brands or models. While it is permissible to specify that the requested equipment or service must be “compatible with currently used systems”, it is not permissible to refuse to consider offers on items that may be more cost-effective than the specific ones you list.

Block 2, #7

Check all boxes in Item 7a and 7b. There is no penalty for checking all of the boxes and this keeps all of your possibilities open and reduces your chances of funding denials.

Post for all appropriate categories of service (8–11) that you think you might need. You are not obligated to anything you post for on Form 470. For example:

  • You are applying for a service that offers wireless telephone service and wireless Internet service on a portable electronic device (e.g., BlackBerry®, Treo®, or any other smartphone that has both cellular and any Internet/e-mail/data service), you should list this service in both Telecommunications Services and Internet Access.
  • If you are applying for on-premise Priority 1 equipment in Telecommunications Services, you should also post for it in Internal Connections in case USAC finds your request ineligible in the first category and moves it to the second.
  • You have an intranet as well as Internet usage. List “Distance Education” in both Telecommunications Services as well as Internet Access, because point-to-point data that never touches the Internet must be applied for in the Telecommunications Services category. Often you can’t be sure it is all Internet rather than strictly data transmission.

For each set of services (each separate Item 8, 9, 10, or 11), indicate whether you have an RFP. If you indicate that you have an RFP, USAC may ask to see a copy during their review of your application. If you indicate that you do not have an RFP but you later decide to issue one, or vice versa, you cannot correct this information using the RNL correction process but must instead file a new Form 470.

If you are using an RFP for any services, the RFP must also be published for 28 days before contract signing or 471 filing. If 470 and RFP dates are different, use the longest time period as your date. Because the date of filing the 470 controls the date on which the 471 can be filed, beginning the process early is extremely important. The trick to staying in the 471 filing window begins with an early filing of a 470, perhaps even before the dates of the window are announced. The earlier a 470 is posted to the SLD site, the earlier you can file within the 471 window.

Block 2, #10

An entity may only receive Internal Connections two out of five years in a row. See the two-in-five rule for Internal Connections. This rule does not apply to Internet Access, Telecommunications Services or Basic Maintenance.

Block 2 #11

Only maintenance necessary to continue operation of eligible equipment will be considered for funding. Maintenance on Priority 1 services and equipment (Telecommunications and Internet Access) should be written within contracts for those services rather than being stand-alone contracts. Use the Basic Maintenance category to ask for maintenance on eligible equipment which you already own. Management of the equipment is not eligible. Be careful that your maintenance contracts do not overlap the warranty periods that normally come with purchased equipment.

Block 2, #12

If you have a staff member that is well-equipped to answer technical questions but is not the contact person in Item 6 or the authorized person in Item 29, you have an opportunity to identify that person here.

Block 4, #16

Complete one of the entries in Item 16. If your application is not for a single site (Item 16a), be sure to include the number of eligible entities in Item 16c, along with the area code and prefixes for those entities.

Block 4, #17

Identify the list of entities that will pay the bills directly to the service provider. This is typically the district office, rather than the individual school.

Block 4, #18

Identify a list of additional entities that will receive products and services as a result of this Form 470 and/or RFP but are not themselves eligible for E-Rate discounts. This provides prospective bidders with a complete picture of the scope of the project.

Block 5

Verify that you can accurately make all certifications. Read all of the certifications carefully to be sure you are complying with all program rules and complete and submit either online or on paper.

Keep service providers out of any role in your competitive bidding process other than that of the bidder.

Your competitive bidding process must be open and fair. All bidders must be treated the same, and no bidder can have advance knowledge of the project information. There must be no secrets in the process (e.g., information shared with one bidder but not with others) and all bidders should know what is required of them.

Your competitive bidding process must be open for at least 28 days before you select a service provider or sign a contract.

If you issue an RFP after you post your 470, you must count 28 days from the date your RFP was publicly available before you can select a service provider.

Block 6

Be sure that your certification pages are filled out properly, signed as originals, and mailed in a timely manner. If you qualify for a PIN for an electronic signature, use it to avoid mailings altogether. To get a PIN, you will have to paper certify your first form. That paper signature will trigger USAC to mail you a PIN, which comes via the USPS and resembles a bank overdraft notice, with edges to be torn away. Keep that PIN in a safe place. View USAC’s PIN FAQs for Applicants for more information.

Once Form 470 has been filed with USAC, they will send you a Receipt Notification Letter (RNL) letting you know the form has been received and allowing you to make certain changes or edits for mistakes.

Keep a log of bidder contacts, and include null contacts. After 28 days since filing the form have passed, list in the log that there have been no bids and that the current provider has been selected in the absence of other bids.

Building a Paper Trail

You need to retain these documents for eight years in case of an audit or review:

  • A copy of your filed 470
  • Mailing receipts if USPS or FedEx was used
  • A copy of your technology plan and BIA (or a note indicating where a copy is available)
  • A copy of any RFP which you developed for this 470
  • A copy of either the informal description of services you will send out and/or a copy of the outline of information you intend to give out over the phone
  • Log of all bidder contacts – include null contacts or a note to self that after 28 days there were no bids