The importance of E-Rate
The Internet provides unlimited amounts of information that has become a vital resource for the education process – email has become the main platform for communication between students and teachers outside the classroom; online testing and virtual assignments are becoming increasingly popular; research assignments rely heavily on the Internet – with Internet access in schools and libraries, there is almost no limit to the amount of information that can be shared and learned.
As communications and learning technologies advance, educational institutions are looking to enhance their academic resources and optimize their networking capabilities by implementing these technologies in their schools, universities and libraries. The challenge that many of these institutions are facing is how to bring their networks into the new age in a streamlined and budget-friendly manner. Due to nominal budgets, budget cuts, and the lack of capital within these institutions, many are finding it difficult to upgrade their networks to allow for high-speed broadband connectivity. Realizing the importance of affordable, high-speed Internet availability in schools and libraries, Congress and the FCC implemented the E-Rate program to provide discounted telecommunications, Internet access, and internal connections to eligible schools and libraries, funded by the Universal Service Fund (USF).
Within the E-Rate Program, funding may be requested under four categories of service:
How does this relate to you?
- telecommunications services
- Internet access
- internal connections/networking infrastructures
- basic maintenance of internal connections
The E-Rate program follows a specific bid-and-win process regulated by the FCC. For a school or library that wishes to participate in the program to receive affordable services, they must specify which E-Rate supported service they’re seeking (from the four categories above), and submit a request for competitive bids to the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). The USAC then posts those requests on its website for vendors to see
. The applicant (school or library entity) then reviews the bids and selects its preferred vendor or vendors. Finally, the applicant submits an application to the USAC for approval of the proposed services and purchases – once approved, the project can begin.
The entire process must comply with both FCC rules and state and local procurement requirements, and only eligible applicants are considered by the USAC. As the main benefit of the E-Rate program, the vendor or applicant submits a request to USAC for reimbursement of the approved discounted services.Telco Systems’ E-Rate, School District and Campus Ethernet Solution offers enhanced features including:
- End-to-end metro Ethernet solutions
- Lowest cost for 1GE to 10GE services delivery
- Optional T1 circuit emulation services (CES) support
- Devices for most any site requirement
- “Technician Free” installation and provisioning
- Full Service Life Cycle Management Solution
- Hundreds of Telco Systems E-Rate networks deployed.
Contact us to discuss your E-Rate needs and see how Telco Systems’ solution can help you beat your metro Ethernet competition to win more E-Rate projects!