3 Things to Know about the Modification of E-rate

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3 Things to Know about the Modification of E-rate

With funding access that ensures discounts ranging from 20% to 90%, E-rate became an aspirational funding pool for wifi connectivity in schools. Yet since its inception in 1966, schools  and education centers grew frustrated with the measures  taken to yield the benefits of the program. It was like dangling money on a fishing string and yanking it higher every time one got close to reaching it. For the fiscal year of 2015-2016 things will be different and everyone has something to smile about. Here are 3 key updates to takenote.

  1.  Everyone Gets a Shot at the Pie: In an effort to fulfill President Barack Obama’s ConnectED  initiative  to  get  all  schools  and  educated  centers  connected  with  next generation broadband and wireless services, the eligibility guidelines for E-rate funds has expanded drastically. Going forward, all districts are eligible for funding via the E-rate program pending approval via the USAC application processes. Prior to this update, E-rate funding eligibility targeted only schools in in rural or economically disadvantaged areas. That requirement is now lifted. This will expand WI-FI access to over 10 million more students.
  2.  More Money For Everyone: The funding pool for E-rate was increased by $7.5 billion over the next 5 years, or at an additional $1.5 billion a year. Expanded funding is always a huge benefit since now an additional 101,000 schools and 16,000 libraries can finally expand their broadband and wifi access. Furthermore, for the first time “every school  in the country is guaranteed a minimum of $9,200 if  they fulfill  the eligibility requirements.
  3.  Get  Everything: Prior  to  the  modernization,  eligible  funds  focused  mainly  on priority  one  services  that  covered  internet  services  and  limited  funds  to  priority  2services that covers internal connections and basic maintenance. Now, funding needs are focused on supporting the whole broadband connectivity package and ensure that all needs per school are met. These are great times for schools and libraries across the country. It’s important to note that despite the enhanced benefits, the application process is still very cumbersome and requires careful preparation. Simplifying the process will take time as the paperwork and deadlines  are  constantly  updated.  Nevertheless,  don’t  miss  out  on  this  amazing opportunity.

Sources:

  •  http://www.crn.com/news/networking/300075128/solution-providers-cheer-added-e-rate-funding-but-obstacles-remain.htm
  • http://thejournal.com/articles/2014/12/15/what-the-new-erate-funding-can-do-for-your-district.aspx
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