Tuesday, October 23, 2007


A big topic at ISPCON was E-RATE. Rudy at CyberLink gave a session that was sparsely attended, but at the CEO Exchange the topic was re-addressed. Rudy and Travis, a WISP owner and 2007 Best WISP Operator Award winner, chimed in on what is working for them in the E-RATE world.

E-rate is the USAC governed program that uses USF monies to help libraries and schools that participate pay for internet access. (E-rate also pays for access for rural healthcare centers.)

The window for filing Form 471s for E-Rate Funding Year 2008 has been set. The window will open at noon Eastern Time on Wednesday, November 7, 2007 and will close at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, January 24, 2008.

What is the E-Rate? The Universal Service Fund was created by the Telecommunications Act of 1996, and began distributing funding in 1998. Telecommunications carriers pay into a fund which is then used to subsidize telecommunications and data communications for districts. The program has provided roughly $2.25 billion to schools and libraries annually since 1998. Subsidies (called “discounts”) are a percentage of a district’s expenditures on telecommunications and Internet access. The level of discount ranges from 20% to 90%, and is calculated based on the percentage of students eligible for the National School Lunch Program. For districts with multiple schools, the discounts for individual schools can be combined, or schools can apply individually.

Some common misconceptions about the E-Rate.

Forms to be completed. Get your SPIN Number now.

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