WASHINGTON, December 14, 2021—The Federal Communications Commission today approved a proposal seeking comment on improving transparency and efficiency in the competitive bidding process for the E-Rate program. The proposal would require bids for E-Rate services and equipment to be uploaded into a centralized document portal managed by the Universal Service Administrative Company. This would replace a process by which service providers submit bids directly to applicants for E-Rate-supported equipment and services. The order also seeks comment on other ways to improve the competitive bidding process and enhance program integrity.
Today’s proposal responds to recommendations from the Government Accountability Office and the FCC’s Office of Inspector General to take steps to improve program safeguards and is intended to ensure that entities participating in the E-Rate program conduct a fair and open competitive bidding process; prevent improper payments; increase program efficiencies, and reduce administrative costs associated with the collection of bidding documentation by requiring it upfront, rather than during the application review or audit process.
Action by the Commission December 14, 2021 by Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 21-124). Chairwoman Rosenworcel, Commissioners Carr, Starks, and Simington approving. Chairwoman Rosenworcel issuing a separate statement.