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2015 E-Rate Funding: What You Need to Know

Recently Cisco Meraki held a webinar to review updates to the new 2015 E-Rate funding year. We’ve broken the transcript up into different parts, making it easy to read and digest the information for the 2015 E-Rate funding year.

Gearing up for the 2015 E-Rate Funding Year

Announcer: The broadcast is now starting. All attendees are in listen-only mode.

Jakie Roewe: Good morning or good afternoon, wherever you might be today. My name is Jackie Roewe and I am a Marketing Manager here at Cisco Meraki. I am going to taking you through a webinar today, focusing on gearing up for the 2015 E-rate funding year.

While we wait for the last two few people to come onto the webinar today, I want to take a moment to go over the agenda. So, we’re going to taking a look at the different updates to the funding year. We’re also going to take a look at how you can use these new funds to design a network for the future, for your students and their teachers. We’re going to take a look at some of the deployment methods that you can use with these new updates, as well as a look at Cisco Meraki and how it really is built for modern K-12 learning. At the end, we’ll also be taking a quick look at the Cisco Meraki product families, as well as have time for a brief Q&A session.

I am joined on the line today by one of my colleagues so please do not hesitate to ask questions in the GoToMeeting chat module throughout the webinar. She will answer them as quickly as she can. I will also try to address as many of these questions throughout the webinar, as well as at the end of the webinar.

The 2015 E-Rate Flow for Schools

Let’s go ahead and start by taking a look at the overall E-rate flow. So in general, the flow remains the same as past years. We’re seeing that you’re going to have to review your different options, prepare technology, plan, submit forms for the bidding process, and open up the bidding period; a 28 day bidding period for vendors. After that, you’re going to go to the application process of actually choosing a vendor, as well as filing your Form 471 to USAC. During the process of USAC reviewing your applications, you’ll probably have to respond to some questions regarding compliance for E-rate services. And last, USAC will provide the funds to you. At that point, you’re able to deploy the eligible E-rate services.

BYOD on School’s Networks

Now, something to keep in mind is that schools are increasingly bringing in new tablets and other devices to enhance teaching and learning. So there’s this great influx in devices on school networks due to initiatives like 1:1 and BYOD, as well as online testing; things like Common Core and PARCC testing. So, these types of technologies and devices are really going to require major upgrades to your core and your Wi-Fi infrastructures. So it’s definitely something you need to keep in mind as you do evaluate your needs and prepare your technology plans going forward.

Let’s go ahead and take a look into the modernization order that the FCC has issued just about a month ago. The point of this new order is to modernize E-rate funding for the education needs of the future. One of the most obvious changes to the modernization of E-rate funding is a change from Priority 1 and Priority 2 funding to Category 1 and Category 2 funding.

The reason they’re doing this is, it takes a whole-network approach by dividing broadband into two different categories; broadband coming into the schools and libraries, as well as the connectivity within the schools and libraries. So, the connectivity that’s going to enhance and enable the devices to connect to the network, access different applications that they need.

Why are they doing this? Well, it’s to ensure the high-speed broadband connections that are going to be needed for this new era of digital learning. And once again, how are they doing this? They’re going to be freeing up budget by moving away from legacy technologies and we’ll talk about that in just a moment, on the next slide actually. As well as by simplifying and improving the administration of funds to ensure the intelligent spending of E-rate money; the intelligent distribution between schools.

We’ll post part two of the transcript next week.

Posted in Cisco Meraki, E-Rate

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