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Five contracts worth almost $5MIL awarded for E-Rate program

fili@samoanews.com

The Procurement Office has awarded five separate contracts totaling close to $5 million for the Department of Education Year 15 E-Rate Program — in which 90% of the total cost of each contract award is paid by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) and the balance by ASDOE.

Each contract award is for five years beginning July 1, 2012 and ending June 30, 2017, with the option to extend for two additional 1-year periods, according to information provided by Procurement Office.

A total of five Request for Proposals (RFPs) for the E-Rate Program were issued on Jan. 6, 2012 and closed Feb. 10. Procurement Office issued the awards on Mar. 16, with the largest contract award of $3.7 million to the American Samoa TeleCommunications Authority for the “Erate ISP Services”.

ASTCA is to provide unfiltered access to the world wide web at 50Mbps of dedicated ISP bandwidth for eleven ASDOE Offices, sixty school sites and the Feleti Barstow Public Library, said Procurement Office responding to media questions.

ASTCA was also awarded the “Erate Wireless ISP Services” contract to provide wireless hotspots to serve at least 50 computers on each of the thirty-three ASDOE & private elementary school sites. This contract award totals  $254,100.

Locally based Blue Sky Communications was awarded two contracts. The first, totaling $735,834, calls for Blue Sky to provide “cellular services for ASDOE and the second project totaling $166,272 calls for Blue Sky to provide “long distance services” for ASDOE.

According to the Procurement Office, the “Erate Web Hosting Services” project of $87,550 was awarded to Interactive Education Services, Inc. to provide web hosting services to DOE school sites and the maintenance of all service provider equipment.

Based in Bakersfield, Calif., Interactive Education Services is a provider of a Web-based communication portals for K-12 schools and districts in the U.S., according to the company’s website.

BACKGROUND

USAC  is an independent corporation created in 1997 to collect universal service contributions from telecommunications carriers and administer universal support mechanisms (programs) designed to help communities across the country secure access to affordable telecommunications services, the agency says on its website.

USAC carries out its functions as the administrator of the federal universal service programs and universal service fund (USF) under the oversight of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). USAC administers universal service programs for high cost companies in rural areas, low-income consumers, rural health care providers, and schools and libraries. The USAC’s Schools and Libraries Division is the E-Rate program — or the Erate program.

ASDOE has participated in the E-Rate program since 1998, according to Samoa News archive records.



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