California Educational Data Processing Association
The DataBus - Vol. 38, No. 1
Discounts: Eligible equipment includes Internet access hardware.
Dan Shahbazi, Internet Products, Inc.
Internet servers are among the many technology products that are covered under current E-Rate guidelines. A distinction can be made, however, about the added benefits that Internet servers can provide in reducing the cost of ownership after E-Rate funds have been depleted.
Eileen Donovan, an E-Rate researcher at Internet Products, Inc., the San Diego developer of InterGate, observes that schools need to be cautious about solutions that will involve increasing costs after discounts have been disbursed. "A school or district that receives E-Rate discounts in January will not necessarily be eligible for discounts next year or beyond," Donovan said. "It depends a great deal on the success of the E-Rate program and any guidelines that may change.
She added, "It becomes critical for educational sites wanting to take advantage of E-Rate to consider future costs now." Donovan said that schools or districts specifying Internet servers in their technology plans will enjoy the benefit of adding users later without incremental costs down the road.
According to Farley Stewart, Internet Products' president, an integrated network Internet server like InterGate gives educational sites seeking E-Rate discounts substantial added benefits. "We designed InterGate to work within the staffing confines of schools and districts," he said. "One InterGate is easily managed by a single staff or faculty member with basic computer proficiency."
E-Rate discounts do not cover training or staffing needs. Stewart noted that schools seeking to build their own Internet servers will likely need a staff member with significant technical proficiency to manage, maintain and diagnose problems with that solution. "The dollars spent on adding a staff member could be used for additional Internet servers that are included in E-Rate coverage."
Some schools not aware that Internet servers are E-Rate compliant may look toward ISPs to manage their user accounts and services. "Aside from the loss of internal control," noted Stewart, "there is an expense risk involved with ISP contracts because of the monthly fees associated with those agreements."
ISPs will charge for every user account it manages as well as the services it provides. E-Rate discounts used this year for ISP contracts may not be available in the same amount in following years; yet, the need to provide services to users and manage them continues to grow.
Two other areas of interest to educational sites seeking E-Rate discounts are the need for comprehensive support contracts covered by E-Rate and the need to show how curricula will be enhanced with the implementation of a technology plan.
Stewart noted that InterGate is fully supported with optional contracts that are covered under E-Rate guidelines. "The design of InterGate allows for one support contract to cover all support needs for every Internet service needed at a school or district," he said. "Support is a necessary part of an Internet solution, and E-Rate makes it possible for our support contracts to remain integral to the success of an educational site's Internet plan."
Curriculum enhancement also becomes a vital point of evidence for schools seeking funds. "Specifying InterGate enables schools to request discounts for a solution that has robust Web caching mechanisms that dramatically speed the process of downloading Web pages," Stewart added. "The end result is that lab time is not spent on downloading Web pages but on the value those pages offer in enhancing the learning process." More information on InterGate's performance and access control capabilities can be found on Internet Products' ftp site at [ftp://ftp.ipinc.com/presentations/cedpa97.ppt].
For more information on how the InterGate solution can benefit a school or district seeking E-Rate assistance, or to obtain an InterGate bid specification contact Eileen Donovan at Internet Products via e-mail at , or call her toll-free at 1-888-InterGate (468-3742) ext. 111. Internet Products can be reached on the Web at www.InternetProducts.com. InterGate is a registered trademark of Internet Products, Inc.
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