In an effort to close the Wi-Fi gap in K-12 schools across the US, the FCC has extended and improved the E-rate program. But the window of opportunity is rapidly closing for FY15. Be sure your district uses this time to evaluate your network infrastructure strategy and that you meet all the critical E-rate deadlines. To give you up-to-minute help, Extreme Networks is providing a live webinar with the John Harrington, CEO Funds For Learning: How to Prepare a Successful Form 471 Application, January 20th at 11:00am ET.
Important E-rate Milestones and Deadlines
The FCC Form 471 application filing window for Funding Year 2015 opens at noon ET on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 and closes at 11:59 PM ET on Thursday, March 26, 2015. The filing window is open for 72 days.
The last day to post an FCC Form 470 to the USAC website or issue an RFP and still complete all of actions before the window closes is Thursday, February 26, 2015. Remember that you must wait 28 days after the FCC Form 470 is POSTED to the USAC website before you can select a service provider, sign a contract (if applicable), and submit an FCC Form 471.
Important E-Rate Terminology
FCC Form 470: This form opens a competitive bidding process. Applicants can also issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) or related bidding document.
FCC Form 471: This form is used to request discounts on eligible products and services. It is officially called, “Services Ordered and Certification Form”.
Category Two Services: Three groups of services are eligible for category two support: internal connections, basic maintenance, and managed internal broadband services (more commonly described as managed Wi-Fi).
Category One Services: Services needed to support connectivity to schools and libraries are designated “category one” services.
The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) administers the E-rate program for the FCC. This includes processing the applications for support, confirming eligibility, and reimbursing service providers and eligible schools and libraries for the discounted services. USAC is the ultimate source for information on E-rate eligibility, application details, and program specifics.
E-rate reimbursement for your district within category two is based on $150 per student subject to a discount ranging from 20% to 85% depending on the number of students eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) in your district and depending on whether your district is rural or urban.
Be sure you don’t miss the deadlines! The very latest information on the forms, especially the newly-issued Form 471 will be covered in detail during this webinar: How to Prepare a Successful Form 471 Application, January 20th at 11:00am.