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E-Rate Program Information

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E-Rate Central News Archives
Get up to date with the modifications and changes of the R-Rate program by reading the E-Rate Central Weekly Newsletter.

Urban / Rural Tool – Location is important for your discount percent. USAC has an online tool to help determine your Urban / Rural Status. Check your BEN (Billed Entity Number) against the system. If there’s an error (? in the status field), call the Client Service Bureau at 888-203-8100 and have it corrected ASAP.

The Universal Services Weekly News Brief has a variety of announcements, updates, and training opportunities. For the latest news, visit the site regularly.

Welcome to the New Hampshire Department of Education E-Rate Site, designed to help New Hampshire schools understand the purpose, scope, and application process of the federal universal service fund, commonly referred to as “e-Rate.” Here you will find links to resources in New Hampshire and to the Universal Services Administrative Company E-Rate website.

Time to Get Started for Funding
Funding cycles for the E-rate program come and go very quickly with all the other things schools and districts have to consider on a daily basis. Consider planning for the next funding cycle in advance. Consider these Ten Rules for E-Rate Success from E-Rate Central.

E-Rate Central is a useful website for keeping up with e-Rate news, understanding the forms, and other nuances to the program. We encourage you to sign up for their weekly newsletter.

The USAC Learn Resources page has a variety of learning tools designed to help you understand and manage the form filing process, FCC requirements, and other elements of the Schools and Libraries Program. Tools include e-learning modules, videos, and webinars.

e-rate FCC

Universal Services

Competitive Bidding for e-Rate from the Schools and Libraries Division provides insight on how to develop an effective e-rate bid and provides information on the process and steps required to develop and submit an effective bid.
Note: While Technology Plans are no longer requried for e-rate services, it is strongly suggested that districts continue to devleop technology plans and incorporate them into their processes for budgeting, professional development, and plan for upgrades to your infrastructure and digital tools and devices.

FCC Emergency Connectivity Fund
The FCC's Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) is a $7.17 billion program that will help schools and libraries provide the tools and services their communities need for remote learning during the COVID-19 emergency period. ECF will help provide relief to millions of students, school staff, and library patrons and will help close the Homework Gap for students who currently lack necessary Internet access or the devices they need to connect to classrooms.

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel discusses the Emergency Connectivity Fund, a $7.17 billion program to help schools and libraries support remote learning.

Additional E-Rate Information
The Federal Communications Commission modernized E-rate Modernization to expand Wi-Fi networks in schools and libraries across America. New rules were the major step in the comprehensive modernization of E-rate, the first such effort since the program’s creation. The program increased focus on the largest and most urgent need—closing the Wi-Fi gap—while transitioning support away from legacy technologies to 21st Century broadband connectivity, ensuring E-rate money is spent smartly, and improving program administration.

FCC Adopted: December 11, 2014
E-Rate Modernization Order Summary (11 Dec 2014)

FCC E-Rate Moderization Order
E-Rate Modernization Order Summary (23 Jul 2014)

erate information and resources for new hampshire schools and libraries
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National Information

Universal Services Administrative Company
The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) is an independent, not-for-profit corporation designated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as the administrator of universal service. USAC works to protect the integrity of universal service through informing and educating program audiences, collecting and distributing contributions, and promoting program compliance.

FCC E-Rate Program
The FCC E-Rate Program is the nation's largest educational technology program, connecting schools and libraries to broadband internet services. The FCC began updating the program in 2010, and recently passed an E-Rate Modernization Order that seeks to modernize the program to focus on these three goals:

  1. Increased connectivity to high capacity broadband
  2. Increased purchasing power through bulk buying, bidding improvements,and consortia
  3. Streamlining to increase transparency.

SETDA and Common Sense Kids Action E-rate Modernization Resources
Resources for state and local leaders to help them achieve high-speed connectivity in their jurisdictions and to support the national goal of connecting every classroom and library in America to high-speed Internet.

State E-Rate Coordinators' Alliance
SECA comprises 98 individual members who provide statewide E-rate coordination activities in 46 states and 2 U.S. territories. Members are funded completely from state or local school budgets with no administrative funds coming from USF. Members are appointed by their respective state governments/department of education. SECA Membership does not include Service Providers.

Are There Any Program Requirements?
Schools applying for e-rate are required to comply with the Childrens Internet Protection Act. In order to receive e-rate discounts for Internet Access and Internal Connections services, school authorities must certify that they are enforcing a policy of Internet safety that includes measures to block or filter Internet access for both minors and adults to certain visual depictions.

Internet Safety
Some resources for schools, teachres, parents, and students regarding safety online.


Statewide Information

New Hampshire School Connectivity Initiative (NHSCI)
The New Hampshire School Connectivity Initiative was formed as a collaboratoin of agencies and organiations that seek to help NH to meet our K-12 connectivity goals to ensure that all New Hampshire public school students have the opportunity to engage in meaningful digital learning. NHSCI facilitates statewide K-12 fiber network discussions with school districts, service providers, and partner organizations. The seek to maximize discounted communication services provided to schools and libraries across the state through Federal Communication Commission's E-Rate funding program; and continue efforts to analyze and strengthen the connectivity of K-12 schools throughout the state.

What Is the Discount Rate for Our School?
Use the most current Free & Reduced Lunch data available. This data is collected from schools in October and posted on the NHDOE website.

District Technology Plans
The NHDOE Office of Educational Technology no longer approves district technology plans. The FCC dropped the requirement for approved technology plan as part of the moderization process. The Office of Educational Technology will no longer approve district technology plans, but encourages districts to continue tech planning, and also encourages districts to post their tech plans online, and continue to submit them to the Office of Educational Technology along with the link to their location online. While it is clear that technology and digital tools and resources are becoming very common, planning for effective use and proper replacement and upgrades more important than ever. To modernize your technology plan, consult the Technology Planning Toolkit available on NHEON.org.

Program Notices
E-mail communications (ETNews) are sent periodically from the NHDOE to school technology liaisons to notify them of program information, such as upcoming e-rate application deadlines and program clarifications.


E-Rate Application Steps

School District Tech Plan
The Office of Educational Technology recommends and encourages districts to develop and use technology plans that incorporate improvement of ICT Literacy programs that meet the Minimum Standards for School Approval; current, 21st Century, technology rich, professional development opportunities for all administrators and staff; and evaluate the effectiveness of these plans routinely. The eFederal E-Rate Program dropped the requirment for state approved technology plans for Priority 1 services in 2011. Subsequently, the current e-rate moderization order removes the requirement for state approved technology plans for both Category 1 and Category 2 services. As a result, the Office of Educational Technology will no longer be approving technology plans. Districts are encouraged to write meaningful plans and submit them to the Office of Educational Technology, along with the link to where they can be found online.

School District Files Form 470
Districts submit a Form 470 which is a Request for Services to the School Library Division (SLD). This is like putting the services out to bid. This step typically happens in the fall or winter each year for service discounts that would begin the following July. When the form is posted to the SLD website, districts must wait at least 28 days before considering bids. This form must be completed by the district, not by a potential service provider.
Note: A new Form 470 is not required if an applicant intends to seek discounts on services provided under a multi-year contract executed under a posted Form 470 in a prior funding year.

Notification of 470 Receipt
SLD posts the Form 470 to its website and sends confirmation to the district. This effectively opens the bidding process. You have to wait at least 28 days before you take the next step of filing a Form 471 (or as soon as the filing window opens) because you need to allow bidders time to submit bids to you and then conduct a fair evaluation of the bids.

School District Files Form 471
When the district decides which bidder to use, they submit a Form 471 to the SLD (as soon as the filing window opens). This is the actual request for funding. The discount percentage is identified on the form and is based on the participation percentage for the school lunch program.

Filing Window Observed
SLD is required to observe the filing windows set by the FCC. This is when you need to file your Form 471. If you haven't already filed Form 470, you need to file the 470 and wait 28 days before filing the 471.

Form 471 Receipt Acknowledgment
SLD sends an acknowledgement that they have received the Form 471 and includes important details for the district and the service provider. This is NOT a commitment of the discount. That comes next.

Funding Commitment Decision Letter
An FCDL is sent to both the district and the provider to indicate the actual amount approved. If funds are denied, it would be indicated in this letter.

School District Appeals
If a district is denied funds, they have 60 days to submit an appeal (based on FCDL date).

School District Files Form 486
Districts must submit this form to indicate services have begun, their technology plan has been approved, and the status of their compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA).
Note: After July 1st each year (which is the first date services could actually start), there is a limited time for submitting this form – it must be received or postmarked no later than 120 days after the date of the FCDL or 120 days after the Service Start Date, whichever is later.

School District Files Form 472 OR 474
BEAR Form 472 - District files this form if they will pay for services in full and request reimbursement directly from E-Rate. This Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement method is commonly called a BEAR form. SPIF Form 474 - Provider files this form if district chooses to receive discounted bills from the provider. In this case, the PROVIDER files a Form 474 (Service Provider Invoice Form).
Note: Form 472 or 474 must be received at SLD or postmarked no later than 120 days after the date of the Form 486.



Last updated November 13, 2023