E-rate News & Updates
E-Rate Modernization Series: What is the E-rate Modernization?
E-rate Exchange will be releasing a series of four newsletters that are aimed to educate our readers on the E-rate Modernization, its potential affects on future funding, and offer helpful tips for moving forward into the upcoming Funding Year 2016.
So , what exactly is the E-rate Modernization? The goal of the Modernization Order, which takes full-effect as of Funding Year 2015 (July 1, 2015-June 30, 2016), is to close the Wi-Fi gap and to bring faster, more efficient broadband into schools and libraries nationwide. In an effort to make more funding available for these projects, USAC has changed the eligible services list to no longer include web hosting, email hosting, and text/data cell-phone charges. They will also be phasing out the “legacy” telephone voice services at a 20% decrease in discount rate per year. Our subsequent newsletter will provide more detail on eligibility and the voice phase-down.
The FCC explains the Modernization as “the process of re-focusing the E-rate program on providing the necessary support to ensure our nation’s schools and libraries have affordable access to high-speed broadband.” The re-focus has been implemented by the recent change in eligible services. By Funding Year 2019, Category 1 funding will be solely for Internet Access services. Starting Funding Year 2015, all applicants had the opportunity to apply for Category 2, which covers internal connections and maintenance as they relate to broadband. Previously known as Priority 2, this tier of funding was only offered to applicants at an 80% or higher discount level in past funding years. Opening up Category Two funding to all discount levels through the Modernization Initiative is one more way the FCC is encouraging increased bandwidth, in hopes of bringing more sufficient internet access to all applicants.
Stay tuned for our second of four newsletters in our Modernization Series. The following newsletter will cover the new eligibility details and how the modernization is affecting applicants.
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.