E-Rate Changes for 2011

Changes to the E-Rate program will go into effect as of January 3, 2011 and will be implemented in the July 2011-June 2012 year. The changes fall into 3 conceptual categories (from Federal Register):

  • Providing more flexibility to select and make available the most cost-effective broadband and other communications services;
    • Ability to lease dark or lit fiber from the most cost-effective provider;
    • Schools can now allow their communities to use E-rate-funded services outside of school hours;
    • Supports eligible services to the residential portion of schools that serve students with special circumstances;
    • Indexing the funding cap to inflation;
    • Seeking proposals for a limited pilot to establish best practices to support off-campus wireless for portable learning devices outside of regular school/library operating hours.
  • Simplifying and streamlining the E-rate application process;
    • Reduce administrative burden on applicants;
    • Remove technology plan requirement for priority one services;
    • Facilitate disposal and recycling of obsolete equipment that received E-rate support.
  • Improving safeguards against waste, fraud, and abuse.
    • Codify requirement that competitive bidding processes be fair and open.
    • Includes eligible services list for funding year 2011.

Much of this supports the priorities of the National Broadband Plan.

[from District Dispatch]

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