GSA and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently formalized a partnership that will help bring Wi-Fi and enhanced technology options to more of America’s schools.
In an agreement signed June 19, FCC and GSA agreed to develop opportunities for schools and libraries to consolidate their purchasing power and save significant money on wireless access points, routers, and other equipment they need to modernize and expand their network infrastructures. Historically, GSA’s customers have saved as much as 17 percent through use of reverse auctions. With GSA offering front-loaded discounted pricing as a starting point through its blanket purchase agreements (BPAs), the reverse auction approach will provide additional savings to the government.
The two agencies are working together to establish BPAs under the GSA Cooperative Purchasing Program, administered by GSA’s National Information Technology Commodity Program for the benefit of E-rate eligible schools and libraries. E-rate is a program that provides discounts to schools and libraries to obtain affordable internet access.
Once implemented, the BPAs would allow schools and libraries to utilize the GSA’s reverse auction platform to seek bids from equipment vendors at prices even better than those already available under the relevant GSA schedule. This would provide a real opportunity for all schools and libraries to potentially save significant amounts as they upgrade their internal connections, and stretch limited E-rate dollars further.
GSA’s partnership with the FCC has the potential to transform 21st Century learning in communities across the country. Leveraging the collective buying power of government will give local schools and libraries a stronger technology platform to build on and enhance the prospects of education.
The FCC-GSA E-rate initiative is expected to be available next year.