E-Rate Funding for Schools

In part 2 of our transcript of the Cisco Meraki webinar covering the 2015 E-Rate for schools funding review, you will learn about category 1 services, category 2 funding, and we’ll begin the review of the three models to purchase wireless equipment for schools.

Let’s go ahead and take a look at the Category 1 services that have been revised this year. So, there’s a bit staying the same, a bit that’s changing, as well as some services which are also going to be eliminated. So what’s staying the same? Category 1 will continue to be funded first and will continue to have a 90% funding cap. So, support for high-speed telecom, the Internet, things like data services, fiber and fixed wireless; those are all going to be staying the same.

In terms of what’s changing, there’s going to be a phasing out period for voice, so things like interconnected VoIP, as well as telephone services. What that means is that for this year, you’re going to receive the standard discount less 20%. You’ll see that trend in the future years as these types of services are phased out completely. Also, this year, there is completely eliminated support for things like email services, web hosting, voicemail, texting, cell data, paging; things like that. So, those services are getting completely eliminated.

In terms of Category 2 funding, much is staying the same as compared to Priority 2 funding. So, they’re still going to remain eligible for services, things like LAN hardware. So, the access points, the switches, the routers; those types of things, as well as the hardware and the software needed to support the network operation, as well as the infrastructure itself. The Data cabling, racks, UPS, as well as the basic purchase, installation and configuration of those devices.

Now, what’s changing? This year, they’re actually adding funds for caching servers, as well as adding funds for managed network services. We’ll talk more about what managed network services look like in just a moment. But really, what this comes down to is that you now have the option to own and manage your own network, or have another third-party manage the network for you. And those services will now be covered by E-rate funding. There is a reduced discount level from 90 to 85%, and a cap on E-rate discounts for purchases up to $150 per student or $2.30 per square foot in libraries. And this budget’s going to be allotted over a five-year period.

So, what can you do with this E-rate funding? Well, there are many different things you can do. Before I dive into each one of the three models I have at the bottom of the slide here, I want to talk a little bit more about this pre-discount funding that’s capped over a five-year period.

As I mentioned on the previous slide, schools have a $150 per student limit, and libraries have a $2.30 per square foot limit. Now, these funds can be applied all within one year or over multiple years. I want to highlight an example here, just to put it in terms everyone can understand. If you have a district, and that district has 10,000 students, the district is also receiving an 85% discount. And they’re able to spend $150 per student over five years. That’s $1,275,000 that the district is able to spend using E-rate funding for eligible services. In terms of how that’s actually applied, let’s go ahead and take a look at the bottom the slide now.

If you missed part one of our transcript series on the 2015 E-Rate funding for schools by Cisco Meraki, you can read it here. Part three will be posted next week.

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