After the FCC restructured the E-Rate program over the summer and Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed a permanent increase in program funding, SIIA is publishing a fact sheet to help our member school service providers understand and navigate the updated program.
The E-Rate program is the single largest source of technology funding for schools and libraries. While the software, digital content and related services provided by most SIIA member companies are not directly E-Rate eligible, the connectivity and cost savings help enable schools to purchase, access and implement those services to an extent not otherwise likely without E-Rate.
The new E-Rate rules will impact all schools, libraries and SIIA members by increasing E-Rate funds targeted to high-speed broadband connectivity, while further impacting companies whose products may be newly eligible (e.g., certain caching servers) or no longer eligible (e.g., web-hosting and e-mail). Additionally, the rules seek to speed K-12 school access to funding through an expedited application and reimbursement process.
It is a critical time for education technology companies to understand how the E-Rate program has changed and will operate over the next few years so they may better serve schools and libraries. SIIA member companies can find the SIIA E-Rate guide in the SIIA Ed Policy Forum.
Brendan Desetti is the Education Policy and Programs Manager for SIIA. Follow Brendan on Twitter at @SIIAbrendan and find relevant national, federal, and state policy and program information in SIIA’s Ed Policy Forum.