- What (and who) is E-rate?
E-rate is a US Federal Program for funding telecom and technology in K-12 schools and Libraries. The program is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) under direction by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Key components of the program include:
- Universal Service Administrative Company(USAC)
- An independent, not-for-profit corporation that operates as the administrator of the federal Universal Service Fund (USF). The USF helps provide communities across the country with affordable telecommunications services.
- Schools and Libraries Division (SLD)
- A division of USAC responsible for the day-to-day implementation of the E-rate Program
- Universal Service Fund(USF)
- Currently all telecommunications companies that provide service between states, including long distance companies, local telephone companies, wireless telephone companies, paging companies, and payphone providers, are required to contribute to the federal Universal Service Fund. Carriers providing international services also must contribute to the Universal Service Fund.
- Universal Service Administrative Company(USAC)
- Where do I go to apply for E-rate?
Riverbed Xirrus provides a step-by-step guide to the E-rate funding process at http://erate.xirrus.com under the Start Here menu. The application process is described by USAC on their web site starting here: http://www.usac.org/sl/applicants/step01/default.aspx
- Is my district or facility eligible for E-rate?
Typically, most K-12 educational facilities, consortia and libraries are eligible, but there are some requirements. A facility’s or district’s eligibility can be determined starting here: http://www.usac.org/sl/applicants/beforeyoubegin/default.aspx…Read More
E-Rate Survival FAQs
FCC to update phone subsidy program for broadband
The federal government spends more than $4 billion a year, collected from phone bills, to subsidize phone service in rural and poor areas. Now, it’s considering ways to give those places more for the money: high-speed internet connections instead of old-fashioned phone lines, the Associated Press reports. The Federal Communications Commission is set to vote Tuesday to begin work on a blueprint for transforming a subsidy program called the Universal Service Fund to pay for broadband. The details the agency works out could have profound consequences not just for residents of rural areas who are still stuck with dial-up connections or painfully slow broadband speeds. Many rural phone companies–including both landline and wireless carriers–rely heavily on Universal Service funding and could lose some of this money. New FCC rules could also pave the way for cable companies to begin collecting from the program. Although the Universal Service Fund was established to ensure that all Americans have access to a basic telephone line, the Internet is replacing the telephone as today’s essential communications service, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said……Read More
FCC to propose revamping Universal Service Fund
Federal regulators trying to bring high-speed internet connections to all Americans will propose tapping the government program that now subsidizes telephone service in poor and rural areas, reports the Associated Press. The Federal Communications Commission will include a proposal to revamp the Universal Service Fund (USF) as part of a national broadband plan due to Congress on March 17. Although the proposal itself has been expected for months, the agency’s March 5 announcement offered the first solid details. The FCC said it envisions transforming the USF over the next decade to pay for high-speed internet access instead of the traditional voice services that it currently finances. The proposal would create a Connect America fund inside the Universal Service program to subsidize broadband, and a Mobility Fund to expand the reach of so-called 3G, or third-generation, wireless networks. “It’s time to migrate this 20th-century program,” said Blair Levin, the FCC official overseeing the broadband plan, which was mandated by last year’s stimulus bill. The FCC’s announcement focused only on the traditional high-cost, low-income portion of the USF, which also pays for the e-Rate, a $2.25 billion-a-year program that provides telecommunications discounts to eligible schools and libraries. The FCC’s plan will lay out several options to pay for the proposals it outlined March 5, including one that would require no additional money from Congress and one that would accelerate the construction of broadband networks if Congress approves a one-time injection of $9 billion. Either way, Levin said, the proposals would not increase the annual size of the USF, but instead would take money from subsidies now used for voice services……Read More