This opportunity allows schools to receive broadband access (Infrastructure builds) at little to no charge through federal monies and a state matching fund. However, this opportunity only has a limited window to apply for these funds.
The Arizona Corporation Commission is currently evaluating the possibility of using the Arizona Universal Service Fund (AUSF) to provide a portion of the total State Matching Fund. The Commission will likely be considering this program in February or March.
A one-time distribution of $8-13 million from the existing AUSF would serve as the large portion of the state’s match. In order to ensure that an accurate dollar amount is requested in the state legislative session, our working group needs to determine an estimate of what it will cost applicants districts to get the needed infrastructure. To do this, we encourage all districts who are interested in this proposed additional funding to go through the normal E-rate process by posting a Form 470 and RFP by February 1st and have bids close by March 1stth. That way, we”ll have an idea of what budget amount should be requested by the state.
The Arizona Broadband for Education Initiative is a partnership between the Governor’s Office of Education, the Arizona Department of Education, the Arizona Corporation Commission and the nonprofit organization EducationSuperHighway. The program’s goal is to ensure that every public K-12 instructional building in the state is connected via high-speed and reliable broadband connections to enable digital learning in the classroom.
To accomplish this goal, EducationSuperHighway’s team is donating the expert resources and time needed to upgrade school district’s broadband networks to scalable, cost-effective infrastructure and to increase bandwidth to classrooms. EducationSuperHighway’s district consultants will work directly with school district leaders — at no cost — to research technology and service provider options, develop a form 470/RFP strategy, and support the implementation of the new network.
The Arizona Department of Education and the Governor’s Office of Education will provide schools and libraries with additional supports by providing Erate support assistance via the State Erate Controller and identifying potential funding sources to cover infrastructure construction costs.
EducationSuperHighway is a not-for-profit organization that is singularly focused on upgrading the Internet infrastructure in K–12 public schools so that all students can take advantage of the transformational power of digital learning.
The Arizona Broadband for Education Initiative team is establishing a process by which districts and libraries may request the state matching funds and the Arizona Department of Education will review the request for approval. Applicants will be made aware when this process has been established.
Public school districts, charter schools and libraries that participate in the federal E-rate program are eligible to apply.
Private schools, BIE/tribal schools and libraries are all also eligible for E-rate funding. Their respective eligibility for state matching funds will depend upon the authorizing legislation enacted in Arizona.
EducationSuperHighway will work with you to determine bandwidth requirements, create your RFP, socialize your 470/RFP to local and national vendors, and support your bid evaluation process as a neutral third-party. However, your Erate paperwork needs to be officially filed and certified by you and/or your Erate consultant through USAC’s EPC portal.