CAUTION – Don’t forget to request on-going support in your RFP!
As we all know, it is VERY IMPORTANT to have the support necessary for the equipment we purchase as part of the Category Two E-Rate Wireless Initiative. Adding simple language to your RFP requesting that “three years of warranty and support must be included as part of the price of each item” can make a HUGE difference in the cost to the local district. PLEASE don’t forget this. Below is language from page 18 of the current E-Rate Eligible Services List:
“A manufacturer’s multi-year warranty for a period up to three years that is provided as an integral part of an eligible component, without a separately identifiable cost, may be included in the cost of the component.”
Recently, we participated in a wireless bid where, though the district asked for five years of support costs, and for each vendor to identify what was covered by E-Rate, most of the bidders did not include the support. In this situation, with only a few schools, it would add up to $10,000 to the cost of the network, potentially ALL to be borne by the district. This would have been almost as much as the District’s local funding for the purchase price of the entire network. Please make sure you request maintenance and support for your network, and sift through the responses to make sure it is included in a manner that will be covered by E-Rate.