State Contracts

For Massachusetts public libraries that choose to use the ITT72 Contract as the procurement option for their E-rate Category 1 applications, a “Mini-Bid” process must be conducted among all service providers awarded under that section of ITT72 in order to meet the E-rate requirements that all vendors awarded under the state master contract be provided the opportunity to submit proposals. The Mini-Bid process replaces the need for the library to file their own Form 470, and instead requires the library to conduct a separate bidding process to compare the offerings of all the vendors the State of Massachusetts awarded for that section of ITT72.

This document provides a comprehensive, yet simple, step-by-step guide to conducting your ITT72 Mini-Bid. It's important that each step be followed in order and in its entirety in order to be E-rate compliant. 


  • Under E-rate rules, you are not allowed to have vendors create or edit any part of the documents you use in this mini-bid process, other than their own bid response. They cannot prepare or assist you in the preparation of other parts of this process, and we strongly urge that you avoid contact with potential vendors during the mini-bid process except for what is necessary to allow vendors to submit bids.
  • You are allowed to ask vendors general questions about their products and services, but those questions must remain general.
  • If you are using ITT72, you should NOT file your own Form 470 because a Form 470 was filed for ITT72 when the contracts were competitively bid in 2020. On your FY 2024 Form 471, you will cite to the ITT72 470 number (Form 470 #: 200018855).

Step 1. Create Service Request List

Attachment A is a mini-bid service request template that should be used when seeking ITT72 Mini-bids.

  • Building names and addresses should be included, as they are helpful to potential vendors.
  • If installation/configuration may be required (and this is often the case), be certain to include that on your bid list.
  • Libraries must complete Columns A-D and the Compatibility/Interoperability Requirements at the bottom of the page on Attachment A.
    • Note that the library should include a separate line item for each location for each service sought. In the Sample Completed List tab to Attachment A, the library has two outlets, and is seeking 100 Mbps, 250 Mbps, and 500 Mbps symmetrical services (meaning same upload and download speeds) at each of the two outlets – which means there are six lines of service listed.
    • If you need to add additional lines to the spreadsheet, you may do so, just make sure the math totaling up the costs still works.
    • The Compatibility/Interoperability Requirements allow you to specify the equipment and services you currently have that the new services need to work with – for example, your current switches, wi-fi, etc.
  • Vendors must complete Columns E-G.
  • Vendors submitting a quote for an equivalent service (i.e. one that doesn’t have the specific bandwidths listed but exceeds those bandwidths) must complete Columns H-L.

This list should then be attached to the cover e-mail described in Step 2 and sent to vendors as described in Step 3.

Step 2. Compose E-mail to Vendors

Attachment B is a sample cover e-mail to vendors explaining your ITT72 Mini-Bid and setting forth the instructions to vendors on how to prepare and submit a bid. The message can/should be modified to meet your specific requirements, but it must be personalized where highlighted, and must give a due date for vendors to submit responses. Please give vendors at least 29 calendar days to respond.

Step 3. Determine All Vendors in the Relevant "Category"

E-rate rules require that if you are using a master contract such as ITT72 where more than one vendor has been awarded by the state and can provide the service, you must conduct a mini-bid among all the vendors awarded by the state for that “Category.” In the case of ITT72, all bids for traditional end-to-end services will be under what the state labeled “Category 4: Data Services and Broadband” or “Category 6: Fiber Services.” Attachment C is a listing of all the Awarded Vendors awarded under these two “Categories” with the contact information for each vendor. The Mini-Bid must be sent to all vendors awarded under these categories.

Using the e-mail addresses of all Awarded Vendors, send the cover e-mail (Step 2) and service list (Step 1) to seek pricing proposals. Note that you should identify the range of services sought in the cover email.

Step 4. Conduct Your Bid Evaluation

After waiting for the deadline specified in your email to vendors (in Step 2) to pass, you can begin the bid evaluation process. Using the prices contained in the vendor proposals submitted by the required deadline, you must conduct a bid evaluation to select the successful vendor. If a vendor has not responded with a quote by your established deadline, you are not obligated to consider that vendor’s bid for services in your evaluation. The bid evaluation must be conducted using a matrix, with weights given to the various evaluation criteria you use during the evaluation.

  • Price of E-rate eligible services must be the most heavily weighted factor, but you may consider other factors such as previous experience with the library, references, cost to train or certify staff on new equipment, etc. Best practice: We recommend always making the price of eligible services be at least 51% of the bid evaluation weight. It’s not a requirement, but a strong suggestion.
  • Attachment D is an Excel file containing 2 worksheets -- a blank bid evaluation matrix, and a sample completed bid evaluation matrix -- which you are welcome to use, but which will require some modification.
  • Calculating Weighted Cost: Calculations on the completed sample tab are included to show the formulas for properly weighting the value of cost. This is not an E-rate requirement, but rather a best practice. If the bid evaluation is based solely on cost, this is a non-issue. But where other bid evaluation factors are considered, the steps are as follows:
    1. List the total annual cost of eligible services for each proposal.
    2. Divide the lowest cost proposal by cost of each other proposal to obtain the % of low cost. For example, if the lowest cost was $2,100 and the next lowest cost was $2,400, the formula would be $2,100/$2,400 = 88%.
    3. Multiply this percentage factor by the number of points you’re awarding in the “Cost” category. For example, if you’re awarding 70 points for cost, the $2,100 proposal would receive the full 70 points (the lowest cost always receives the full points for cost), and the $2,400 proposal would receive 61.3 points (70 possible points * 88%).

The sample completed evaluation in Attachment D includes formulas which you can adapt to help you make these calculations.

Step 5. Notify Winning Vendor

After conducting your bid evaluation and selecting the winning vendor, inform the winning vendor via e-mail that they have been tentatively selected to provide your E-rate Category 1 services, contingent on board approval (if required), issuance of a purchase order (if required), and subject to receiving E-rate funding approval (if you don’t intend to move forward without E-rate funding approval). See Attachment E for sample award e-mail. Finalize the exact service(s) to be purchased and have the vendor provide a formal contract that will act as your Vendor Contract. Ask the vendor to include the contract term from the cover e-mail and language indicating that the purchase is contingent upon E-rate funding approval (if applicable). If possible, the contract should have spaces to be signed by both the library and the service provider.

The library should then sign and date the contract, after obtaining any required board approvals, and have the contract countersigned by the vendor. Be certain that the signing date(s) for both parties is/are on or BEFORE date of filing the Form 471. The date of the library signature will be the contract award date.

Step 6. Create Contract Record in EPC

After the library signs the vendor contract, a Contract Record must be created in EPC to list all of the bidding and contract details, as well as a copy of the signed contract. To locate the Contract Module, log into EPC, and click on the library name at the top of the Landing Page. Then select “Contracts” on the top row task bar:

Next, select “Manage Contracts” in the top right corner of the page, then “Add a New Contract”:

ITT72-specific Contract Record answers can be found on Attachment F.

All Attachments


E-rate Questions & Help

Aleck Johnson, EdTech Strategies
(MBLC consultant)

State E-rate coordinator (libraries)

Kate Butler, Library Information Systems Specialist
617-725-1860 x253
857-488-6345 (Mobile)