FCC Denies E-rate Appeal for Improper Service Provider Conduct in Competitive Bid

Shortly after I posted an entry noting the FCC’s denial of e-rate appeals for competitive bidding violations, the Wireline Competition Bureau issued another decision along the same lines. In this case, however, the focus was on the conduct of the service provider during the bidding process.

This case involves a Missouri service provider, Synergetics Diversified Computer Services. The Bureau found that Synergetics assisted the school in submitting the request for services (Form 470), including the fact that the Form 470 was submitted from the service provider’s IP address. While limited service provider assistance is permitted after a contract is signed (in submitting the Form 471), service providers are not permitted to assist a school in drafting or submitting its Form 470, which starts the competitive bidding process. In a caution that all service providers should heed, the Bureau declared that

any direct involvement by the service provider in the preparation and submission of the FCC Form 470, even clerical or data entry assistance, is a violation of the Commission’s competitive bidding rules