Arizona Broadband for Education Initiative (A category of Erate services)
Arizona’s vision is for schools statewide to have scalable, affordable and reliable internet access. With access to high-speed broadband, students can take remote classes and receive digital learning opportunities that they never knew existed. The Erate “Special Construction” projects enable educators to dramatically enhance their professional development capabilities and communities will be transformed by the cultural and economic benefits of simply being connected to the Internet.
As part of the Arizona Broadband for Education Initiative, ADE works with Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) to make the most of the E-Rate dollars available to them. E-Rate is the commonly used name for the Schools and Libraries Program of the Universal Service Fund, which is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) under the direction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The program provides discounts to assist U.S. schools and libraries in their efforts to obtain affordable telecommunications and Internet access. The USAC fee, found within the line items of an ordinary phone bill, is how E-Rate funds are collected on a monthly basis.
The E-Rate program in Arizona has assisted more than 4 million students, improved the infrastructure of 2,229 buildings and benefitted 1,200 schools. The state has improved from procuring just 33 percent of its requested E-Rate funds in 2008 to obtaining roughly 90 percent of its funding requests now, allowing technology to reach more Arizona students than ever before.
Today, with the Arizona Broadband for Education Initiative receiving assistance from the nonprofit organization EducationSuperHighway (ESH), there is no better time for a school or library in Arizona to dramatically increase its infrastructure and receive Internet build-outs at potentially no cost.
With a 10% Arizona state match, E-Rate will provide an additional 10% for infrastructure build-outs. For example, if a school has an NSLP percentage of 80, instead of the school attempting to raise the remaining 20% of funds, the state match will fund 10% and E-Rate will then cover the final 10%.
K12 Schools can help families qualitfy for reduced internet costs, devices and more. The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a U.S. government program run by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program to help low-income households pay for internet service and connected devices like a laptop or tablet.
Eligible households could receive:
$30/month discount on internet service
$75/month discount if household is on qualifying Tribal lands
A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer (with a co-payment of more than $10 but less than $50)
A low-cost service plan that may be fully covered through the ACP
Schools can help qualify families for the $30 a month Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) via the free and reduced lunch program. Both Common Sense Media and Education Superhighway have created great toolkits and collections of resources for school and parents. To find out more information on this program click the button below.
Wait a minimum of 28 days from posting your Form 470 to begin evaluating bids to allow time for all bidders to respond, then select the solution that fits your needs with overall cost being the heaviest weighted factor (execution of contract should be contingent upon funding approval).
Review bids and make award with a condition on your contract that you must receive E-Rate Funding for contract to be valid.
The mission of the Final Mile Project is to deliver dependable internet to every student in Arizona. Learn more here.
According the FCC's Sixth Order (9/23/2010), par 22:
"We conclude that we should revise our rules to permanently allow schools to open their facilities, when classes are not in session, to the general public to utilize services and facilities supported by E-rate." Basically, school internet can be used by the community.
What is Broadband? The FCC defines "Broadband" as "An internet service that must deliver at least 25 Mbps download speed and at least 3 Mbps upload". In today's world, this performance is completely unacceptable for anything above basic texting and small emails. In Arizona, we work to bring a minimum of 1.54.1 Mbps up / down per student to enable learning at the highest level possible. (http://www.broadband4arizona.com/broadband-target.html)
Building infrastructure and encouraging vendors to move into new areas of the state, creates competition. Competition creates higher levels of service and lower prices! You can track our progress here.
The Need for Broadband
According to the 2019 States of the States Report, 96% of Arizona students now meet the original 100 KBPS goal for broadband access. However, the national benchmark for student is now 2 MBPS. Furthermore, many schools in the state’s most rural areas cannot access internet that is fast enough to support digital learning and many other technological opportunities for students that are commonplace within urban centers.
Watch this video from the Arizona Corporation Commission to learn more about the Arizona Broadband Initiative.
In addition to those untapped student resources, Arizona has created and made available a bevy of free or inexpensive online tools for teachers. These tools can be used for classroom instruction, as well as for professional development, and are not currently being utilized in many underserved areas across the state. Frequently, service providers struggle to make a high enough return on investment to dedicate resources and build infrastructure out to the most remote schools.
Links to more information about Arizona broadband projects: