News

  • E-Rate
    Wednesday, May 12, 2021
    California Department of Education to Hold a Webinar on Friday, May 14, 2021, to Review the Emergency Broadband Benefit and Emergency Connectivity Fund Programs The Federal Communications Commission is launching two new programs designed to financially support broadband access and devices for students and low-income families through the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program will provide up to $50 per month towards home internet service for eligible low-income families and up to $75 per month for families on Tribal lands. The EBB program also may provide a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating internet providers. The Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) will enable schools to purchase internet service and laptops or tablets to connect students and school staff that lack adequate broadband access necessary to support remote learning. The California Department of Education will be holding an informational webinar on Friday, May 14 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific to review these programs and how they can assist California's schools in closing the digital divide. You may sign up by e-mailing digitaldivide@cde.ca.gov.

  • E-Rate
    Thursday, May 6, 2021
    The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) issued its first funding wave for applications approved for the 2021 funding year on April 17, 2021. Since that date, USAC has issued a total of three waves, for a total commitment of $80.8 million for California’s schools and libraries. For 2021 thus far, 31.5% of Category 1 and 5.5% of Category 2 funds requested have been committed. USAC typically issues funding waves on a weekly basis on Thursday evenings and posts details of the commitments on its website, which is searchable by wave number and state: https://data.usac.org/publicreports/SearchCommitments/Search/SearchByYear/2021.

  • E-Rate
    Wednesday, April 14, 2021
    In the American Rescue Act, recently enacted in March, Congress allocated $7.17 billion to create a new Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) to be administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). This funding is intended to reimburse schools and libraries for expenditures they have incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to provide broadband access to students, staff, and library patrons at locations other than a school or library. Eligible expenses may include: • Broadband service • Equipment such as WiFi hotspots, modems, and routers required to deliver broadband service • End user devices such as laptops and tablets The FCC is currently developing the rules for this program and has initiated a public comment process. Final rules will likely be issued in early May and an application window opened by USAC in the summer. The FCC’s public notice may be viewed at this website: https://www.fcc.gov/fcc-seeks-comment-emergency-connectivity-fund-educational-devices-and-connectio….

  • E-Rate
    Monday, March 15, 2021
    The FCC Form 471 filing deadline for Funding Year 2021 closes on Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 8:59 p.m. PDT. All applicants who are seeking E-rate funding for eligible services delivered between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022, must file their annual FCC Form 471 funding requests in USAC’s E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) online portal by the March 25 deadline.

  • E-Rate
    Friday, February 5, 2021
    On February 1, 2021, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a public notice requesting comment on multiple petitions filed on behalf of E-rate stakeholders to temporarily allow for use of E-rate funded services to support remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. In their petitions, stakeholders requested that the FCC extend the definition of ‘classrooms’ to include any locations off of a school’s campus where students and teachers participate in remote learning.

  • E-Rate
    Wednesday, January 20, 2021
    The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) has announced the Funding Year 2021 E-rate application filing window. Schools that wish to request E-rate funding for services received from July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022 must submit an FCC Form 471 application in USAC’s E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) between January 15, 2021 and March 25, 2021. Applicants have until January 13, 2021 to update their school profiles in EPC after which they will be locked for the duration of the FCC Form 471 filing window.

  • Ed Tech
    Friday, December 11, 2020
    There is a significant move afoot for school districts to establish private wireless networks in order to solve the at-home connectivity problem for their students. We all want the problem solved, however, the approach to funding the effort needs to be carefully considered. School districts are accustomed to having the federal E-rate program subsidize their telecommunications expenses. It might seem natural to apply the same idea of covering “net costs” for these efforts from district sources as opposed to affording the gross costs. The caution that all decision-makers in school districts consider such an initiative is that E-rate continues to limit eligible expenses to on-campus traffic. For the traffic coming into the school network from off-campus sources, the associated costs need to be removed from the amount being requested from the Universal Service Administrative Corporation (USAC). Likewise, core expenses for the build-out to provide off-campus connectivity are not eligible for E-rate support. In addition, the FCC believes it cannot alter the eligibility unless Congress takes action to change the E-rate program. 

  • Ed Tech
    Thursday, December 10, 2020
    The past few decades have brought significant changes in K-12 education. The federal E-rate program helped wire the nation’s schools. Many schools have empowered students by giving them a mobile device for learning. Education is becoming more personalized and engaging, with students taking a more active role in their learning. Student-driven inquiry, creation and collaboration are replacing teacher-centered instruction — and anytime, anywhere learning is becoming a reality.

  • E-Rate
    Wednesday, December 9, 2020
    On November 30, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released the final version of the Eligible Services List (ESL) for Funding Year (FY) 2021. There were no changes to the types or classifications of eligible services from FY 2020. The FCC made minor clarifications, including the following: 1.) Acknowledging the change to District or Library system-wide Category 2 budgets starting in FY 2021; and 2.) Noting equipment or services produced or provided by companies deemed as national security threats are not eligible for E-rate discounts. The FCC also reminds applicants that off-campus use of eligible services, even if used for an educational purpose, is generally ineligible for support.

  • E-Rate
    Friday, November 13, 2020
    As of October 19, 2020, the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) has opened the Administrative Window for updating entity profile information in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) portal. Profile information includes an entity’s classification, address, enrollment, National School Lunch Program information, and Urban/Rural status and is the basis of the discount calculation in the FCC Forms 471. USAC provides this courtesy update window each fall prior to the opening of the annual FCC Form 471 filing window. Applicants should carefully monitor and/or update their entity profiles from now until early next year at which time USAC will lock the data in EPC until the FCC Form 471 application window closes. There are some changes in the school district and school profile sections in EPC for Funding Year 2021.