This post explains how to complete a form 470 if you want to ensure a bandwidth upgrade is allowed within a multi-year contract. In your E-rate form 470, you are required to specify the minimum and maximum bandwidth. If you then receive bids and decide to sign a multi-year contract with a service provider, you are not allowed to submit a funding request for a bandwidth greater than the maximum bandwidth requested on your initial E-rate form 470.
For example, if you specify a minimum bandwidth of 100Mb/s and a maximum bandwidth of 200Mb/s, and you then sign a three year contract with a service provider, during the 3 years, you will only be able to receive subsidy for a bandwidth up to 200Mb/s. If you require more than 200Mb/s you would need to pay out of pocket.
Thus, it is very important that you specify the maximum bandwidth that you believe you will need over multiple years, if you plan or think you may sign a multi year contract.
The reason for this is that it would violate the E-rate competitive bidding rules – if your funding request is for a bandwidth amount higher than the originating form 470. You would effectively be receiving a service that you had not asked for in your form 470, and that had not passed through a bid evaluation. It may be that another service provider would have scored higher on the bid evaluation, if you had included the higher bandwidth amount originally.
You should also specify the increments between the minimum and maximum bandwidths – that you want priced. You would specify the increments in the narrative section of the form 470 or in a separate Request for Pricing (RFP) document.
For example, you could have a minimum of 100Mb/s and a maximum of 10Gb/s and state the following in the narrative section or a separate RFP.
“Please provide pricing for the following bandwidths for a 1, 3 and 5 year term. 100Mb/s, 250Mb/s, 500Mb/s, 750Mb/s, 1Gb/s, 2Gb/s, 3Gb/s, 4Gb/s, 5Gb/s, 10Gb/s”
The above sentence could be easily placed in the narrative section. You could also make available an excel spreadsheet that looks like the below, and ask the vendor to complete the table with the vendor pricing, and to email you the spreadsheet. There is nothing in E-rate rules that states the RFP has to be a WORD document. The RFP refers to any attachment that further clarifies what is being requested.
Note that what ever you specify will prompt a response from vendors. All responses corresponding to your request need to be considered in your bid evaluation. Thus, taking the example above where the vendor completes the table, you may decide to award 10 points for each price point. Thus, there are 3 x 21 = 63 price points, thus a total of 630 points maximum to be allocated.
The price formula you use could specify the highest points for the lowest price, and other vendor prices based on a ratio of the vendor price to the lowest price.
For example, the formula to determine the points for each price point could be:
price points = total available price points x (lowest price/service provider price)
Thus, following this example, the total available price points is 10. If we look at one price point for 100Mb/s, for a 1 year term, if two vendors responded, and one vendor responded with a price of $500/month, and another vendor responded with a price of $800/month, then the price points for the $500/month vendor would be:
10 (total available price points) x ($500/$500) = 10 points
The formula for the second $800/month vendor is:
10 (total available price points) x ($500/$800) = 6.25
When you calculate the price points you can use the same table as above, then add each price point to have a total for the full table, per below. I show here the formula to calculate the sum of all the price points.