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Spokane School District 81, Spokane, WA

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Released: May 2, 2013

Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-873

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, DC 20554

In the Matter of
)
)
Request for Review of a
)
Decision of the
)
Universal Service Administrator by
)
)
Spokane School District 81
)
File No. SLD-514942
Spokane, WA
)
)
Schools and Libraries Universal Service
)
CC Docket No. 02-6
Support Mechanism
)

ORDER

Adopted: May 2, 2013

Released: May 2, 2013

By the Chief, Telecommunications Access Policy Division, Wireline Competition Bureau:
1.
Consistent with precedent,1 we deny a request from Spokane School District 81 (Spokane)2
seeking review of a decision made by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) to rescind
funding committed under the E-rate program (more formally known as the schools and libraries universal
service support program).3 In its decision, USAC determined that Spokane violated the Commission’s
competitive bidding requirements by releasing a request for proposal (RFP) despite having indicated on
its FCC Form 470 that an RFP did not exist.4 Based on our review of the record,5 we agree with USAC’s


1 See, e.g., Requests for Review of a Decision of the Universal Service Administrator by Riverdale Unified School
District and Cherokee County School District; Schools and Libraries Universal Service Support Mechanism
, CC
Docket No. 02-6, Order, 26 FCC Rcd 11207 (Wireline Comp. Bur. 2011); Request for Review of a Decision of the
Universal Service Administrator by Ramirez Common School District; Schools and Libraries Universal Service
Support Mechanism
, CC Docket No. 02-6, Order, 26 FCC Rcd 8430 (Wireline Comp. Bur. 2011); Request for
Review of a Decision of the Universal Service Administrator by Coahoma County School District; Schools and
Libraries Universal Service Support Mechanism
, CC Docket No. 02-6, Order, 26 FCC Rcd 11201 (Wireline Comp.
Bur. 2011); Request for Review of a Decision of the Universal Service Administrator by Cascade School District
#422; Schools and Libraries Universal Service Support Mechanism
, CC Docket No. 02-6, Order, 26 FCC Rcd 6865
(Wireline Comp. Bur. 2011) (all explaining that an applicant must describe with specificity the services it is seeking
to purchase on its FCC Form 470, or indicate on the form that it has an RFP available providing detail about the
requested services).
2 See Letter from Diane Boudreau, Spokane School District 81, to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, Federal
Communications Commission, CC Docket No. 02-6 (filed Oct. 1, 2012) (regarding funding year 2006 FCC Form
471 application number 514942, funding request numbers (FRN) 1453311, 1452858, 1453207, 1453383, 1453399,
and 1453426) (Request for Review).
3 Section 54.719(c) of the Commission’s rules provides that any person aggrieved by an action taken by a division of
USAC may seek review from the Commission. 47 C.F.R. § 54.719(c).
4 See Letter from USAC, Schools and Libraries Division, to Michelle Huss, Spokane School District 81 (dated Sept.
4, 2012) (regarding FCC Form 471 application number 514942 (FRNs 1453311, 1452858, 1453207, 1453383,
1453399, and 1453426)).
5 See 47 C.F.R. § 54.723.

Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-873

determination and find that Spokane violated the Commission’s competitive bidding requirements.6 We
therefore direct USAC to continue recovery actions against Spokane.
2.
Under the Commission’s competitive bidding rules, applicants must submit for posting on
USAC’s website an FCC Form 470 requesting discounts for E-rate eligible services or any services for
which the applicant is seeking a new contract.7 The applicant must describe the requested services with
sufficient specificity to enable potential service providers to submit bids for such services.8 The applicant
must provide this description on its FCC Form 470 or indicate on the form that it has an RFP available
providing detail about the requested services.9 The RFP must be available to all potential bidders for the
duration of the bidding process.10 After submitting an FCC Form 470, the applicant must wait 28 days
before making commitments with the selected service providers.11
3.
The record is clear that Spokane failed to indicate the existence of an RFP for internal
connections on its FCC Form 470.12 In its Request for Review, Spokane states that this omission was an
administrative error and did not interfere with its competitive bidding process.13 However, Spokane’s
RFP provided a far more detailed description of the services Spokane was seeking to purchase than its
FCC Form 470, and it contained explicit instructions concerning the procurement that were not included
on the FCC Form 470.14 For example, the RFP described the desired services as “Cisco Aironet 1131AG
Access Point, approximate quantity- 200 each (no substitutions)” and “Cisco Aironet 1232AG Access
Point, approximate quantity- 100 each (no substitutions).”15 The RFP also provided the following
instruction for interested bidders: “All bidders must read and understand this Invitation to Bid in its
entirety. There may be special instructions either in the terms and conditions or as an integral part of the
bid document that will impact the bidder’s ability to perform.”16 By not indicating the existence of an
RFP on its FCC Form 470, Spokane’s noncompliance with the rules created the risk that it artificially
constricted the potential pool of applicants that could meet its specific requirements. Because only those
vendors receiving the RFP were privy to details and specific instructions concerning the procurement of
the desired services, not all prospective service providers were on a level playing field.


6 See 47 C.F.R. § 54.504 (2006); see also 47 C.F.R. § 54.503 (2011).
7 Id.
8 Id.
9 See, e.g., Schools and Libraries Universal Service, Description of Services Requested and Certification Form,
OMB 3060-0806 (October 2004) (FCC Form 470).
10 See FCC Form 470.
11 See 47 C.F.R. § 54.504 (2006); see also 47 C.F.R. § 54.503 (2011).
12 See Request for Review.
13 Id.
14 See Spokane Public Schools, Invitation to Bid, Bid 02-06 Cisco Wireless Access Points (released Dec. 1, 2005)
(Spokane RFP).
15 Id. Note that applicants are prohibited from referencing specific manufacturers, products or services on their FCC
Form 470 or RFPs unless they also use the words “or equivalent” with any description of the manufacturer’s name,
brand, product, or service when seeking bids. See Request for Review of a Decision of the Universal Service
Administrator by Queen of Peace High School; Schools and Libraries Universal Service Support Mechanism
, CC
Docket No. 02-6, Order, 26 FCC Rcd 16466, 16469, para. 8 (Wireline Comp. Bur. 2011).
16 See Spokane RFP.
2

Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-873

4.
As the Commission has observed, a fair and open competitive bidding process is
fundamental to the integrity of the E-rate program.17 Competitive bidding is vital to limiting waste and
assisting schools and libraries in receiving the best value for their limited funds.18 Because of the
importance of the competitive bidding process to the program, the Commission has consistently required
that all bidders be treated equally and that no bidders receive an unfair advantage.19 Failure to indicate
the existence of a detailed RFP on an applicant’s FCC Form 470 undermines the framework of the
competitive bidding process by suppressing fair and open competitive bidding. Therefore, after
reviewing the record, we affirm USAC’s decision and find that Spokane violated E-rate program rules by
failing to indicate on its FCC Form 470 that it intended to issue an RFP for the services at issue.20
5.
ACCORDINGLY, IT IS ORDERED, pursuant to the authority contained in sections 1-4
and 254 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. §§ 151-154 and 254, and sections
0.91, 0.291and 54.722(a) of the Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.91, 0.291and 54.722(a), that the
Request for Review filed by Spokane School District 81 IS DENIED.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Kimberly A. Scardino
Chief
Telecommunications Access Policy Division
Wireline Competition Bureau


17 See Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service, CC Docket No. 96-45, Report and Order, 12 FCC Rcd 8776,
9076-80, paras. 570-80 (1997) (Universal Service First Report and Order) (subsequent history omitted) (requiring
applicants to conduct a fair and open competitive bidding process when seeking support for eligible products and
services); Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service; Access Charge Reform; Price Cap Performance Review
for Local Exchange Carriers; Transport Rate Structure and Pricing; End User Common Line Charge
, CC Docket
Nos. 96-45, 96-262, 94-1, 91-213, and 95-72, Report and Order and Fourth Order on Reconsideration, 13 FCC Rcd
5318, 5425-26, para. 185 (1997) (Schools and Libraries Fourth Order on Reconsideration) (stating that competitive
bidding is a key component of the Commission’s effort to ensure that universal service funds support services that
satisfy the precise needs of an institution, and that the services are provided at the lowest possible rates).
18 See Universal Service First Report and Order, 12 FCC Rcd at 9029, para. 480; see also Schools and Libraries
Fourth Order on Reconsideration
, 13 FCC Rcd at 5425-26, para. 185.
19 See, e.g., Schools and Libraries Universal Service Support Mechanism, CC Docket No. 02-6, Third Report and
Order and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 18 FCC Rcd 26912, 26939, para. 66 (2003) (stating that
a fair and open competitive bidding process is critical to preventing waste, fraud, and abuse of program resources).
20 See FCC Form 470; 47 C.F.R. § 54.504 (2006); see also 47 C.F.R. § 54.503 (2011).
3

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