California Educational Data Processing Association
The DataBus - Vol. 37, No. 5
August-September, 1997

E-Rate: When Will It Take Effect and When Can Agencies Apply for E-Rate Assistance?

Confusion: New legislation clouded by marketing opportunists. Proceed informed and with caution.

Greg Lindner, Yolo County Superintendent of Schools

We are all starting to receive information on the new E-Rate. Some of it valid, some if it clearly marketing opportunities surrounding the confusion on the E-Rate.

I think while information from some of these companies is useful and valuable, they all need to be looked at with a cautious eye. According to the FCC the E-Rate "Application" is not yet available (see Q&A references below). It is difficult to believe companies are marketing the "application" and enticing us to fill "it" out when it is clear from the FCC it does not yet exist. Draw your own conclusions.

The following excerpts are from the FCC's question and answer text. This was obtained from the FCC web site at http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Common_Carrier/Public_Notices/1997/da971374.txt

Please note that official information on the E-Rate can be found at the two web sites listed at the end of this article.

#38 Q: When can schools and libraries begin applying for discounted services?

A: For this first year of the program, applications for discounted services will be accepted as soon as the schools and libraries website is open and the applications are available.

#39 Q: Does that mean that schools and libraries will not be able to submit applications beginning on July 1st of this year?

A: Yes. The Commission stated that, generally, schools and libraries will not be able to apply before July 1st for funding that will become available on the following January 1st. This requirement was designed to ensure that the first come, first served process proceeds smoothly from year to year. For this first year of the program, however, administrative structures must be put in place before applications can be accepted. In addition, the Commission is currently working with the U.S. Department of Education to design the schools and libraries applications. The date on which applications will become available is still undetermined, but the Commission will ensure that when that date is determined, the information is widely disseminated to schools and libraries. The Commission is committed to ensuring that an efficient and reliable administrative structure is established at the outset of this program so that the application process will proceed smoothly for schools and libraries.

#40 Q: How can schools and libraries keep informed about the progress of the universal service proceeding?

A: Schools and libraries may consult two Commission websites to keep informed about the schools and libraries program: www.fcc.gov/ccb and www.fcc.gov/learnnet.

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