E-rate News & Updates
E-Rate Modernization Series: How Does The Modernization Affect Me?
USAC intends to bring sufficient internet access to all schools and libraries – so how exactly is this going to be accomplished? In order to meet this goal, USAC has taken several measures that affect service eligibility. This newsletter will outline the changes to both Category 1 and Category 2 while painting a clearer picture of how exactly E-Rate Modernization will affect – and benefit – your school or library.
Changes to Category 1
One of the major changes to the program is the phase-out of all voice services; USAC is decreasing funding by 20% each year. This decrease began with Funding Year 2015, and will continue until all voice services are phased out by Funding Year 2019. Voice funding is being phased out so more funds can be dedicated to closing the Wi-Fi gap – the funds themselves haven’t been eliminated, they have simply been reallocated and are now available via Category 2.
In order to better understand the course of the phase-out, please consult the tables below. Table 1 summarizes the basic decrease per year, and Table 2 demonstrates how much funding will be available yearly for each discount band.
USAC has also made several additional eligibility changes for Category 1 services. Notably, web hosting, text and data services, and voice mail are no longer eligible. Internet and digital transmission services remain fully eligible, and are a great area in which to focus your expenses. Please see the table below to understand the eligibility of various Category 1 services.
Changes to Category 2
Many of the exciting changes to the program have affected Category 2. Importantly – and fortunately – Category 2 is now available to schools and libraries at all discount levels. The expansion of Category 2 funding presents an enormous opportunity for all schools and libraries, since it helps fund vital infrastructure upgrades that will allow for huge improvements in broadband connectivity – upgrades that will be fantastic for your students or patrons. With the huge increase in available funds, now is the time to take advantage of Category 2 services.
The table below summarizes the changes to Category 2, clearly showing eligible and ineligible services. Please note that telephone and VoIP components are no longer eligible; only components related to broadband and Wi-Fi connectivity are eligible.
Although all of these changes to the program may seem a bit overwhelming, remember that they present an excellent opportunity. Stay tuned for the third newsletter in our Modernization Series,which will outline how to maximize your E-Rate funding to best benefit from the modernization changes.
Please call our office to discuss the benefits of the Modernization order, or any questions you may have at 315-422-7608. Our team of E-rate experts is eager to help you identify potential funding opportunities and assist in developing a plan that aims to increase your return on the program.