Published: November 1st, 2017

Arizona Department of Education to Host Free Sign-Up Day for High-Speed Internet

Green background with a cartoon Earth and a computer mouse resting on the planet.

As you may know, the Arizona Broadband for Education Initiative provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity for all schools in Arizona to sign up for access to broadband (high-speed) internet service at free or little cost before the deadline in early 2018 closes.

As one of only 17 states that have millions of dollars available for this opportunity, this is an incredible chance for areas with no or slow internet to have access to telemedicine, online occupational and speech therapy, distance learning, as well as the broadband speed necessary for teachers to utilize in all sorts of creative ways.

In order to make it easy for schools to take advantage of this program, the Arizona Broadband for Education Initiative – in conjunction with Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas, as well as Cochise County Superintendent Jacqui Clay and Coconino County Superintendent Risha VanderWey – are hosting two “sign-up days” at no cost to the schools.

RSVP by emailing Milan Eaton at [email protected] by December 5, 2017.

  • 9 AM – 4 PM on December 7, 2017 in Cochise County at 901 North Colombo Ave, Sierra Vista AZ
  • 9 AM – 4 PM on January 11, 2018 in Coconino County at 400 North Cummings St, Flagstaff AZ
  • Posted in Broadband, E-rate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |
    Published: April 21st, 2017

    FCC Approves the Arizona Universal Service Fund

    AUSF UPDATE: FCC Approves the Arizona Universal Service Fund to Award State Matches for Special Construction of Broadband Infrastructure for Arizona Schools and Libraries

    The Corporation Commission approved changes to the Arizona Universal Service Fund (AUSF), providing $8 million in state funding for schools and libraries across the state to access high-speed broadband internet services. In combination with Governor Ducey’s $5 million broadband funding proposal, these state funds could bring in more than $100 million in federal E-Rate funds to pay for special construction of the needed broadband infrastructure for schools and libraries.

    The Arizona Broadband for Education Initiative is a partnership with the Governor’s Office, the Corporation Commission, the Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas, the Secretary of State, 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. The state of Arizona is also one of only eleven states to qualify for this special E-Rate program from the FCC.

    E-Rate is a federal program that provides discounts to schools and libraries for affordable telecommunications and internet access. In December 2014, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which oversees the E-Rate program offered enhanced discounts for special construction of broadband infrastructure based on a dollar-for-dollar state match up to 10% of the total project cost. Yesterday, the FCC approved the Commission’s new AUSF plan as a state matching fund.

    Commissioner Andy Tobin of the FCC welcomed the news, saying, “Thanks to the decisive action of this Commission and the excellent work of our Staff, in coordination with the Governor’s Office, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Secretary of State, and the EducationSuperHighway, we positioned Arizona to potentially access over $100 million in critical infrastructure funding from the federal government. This incredible collaboration shows what can be accomplished when government works together to find solutions for our constituents. I look forward to working with Arizona Department of Education over the next two years to administer these funds in a timely manner, ensuring broadband access for students all across our state.”

    Commissioner Bob Burns also praised the recent FCC approval. “With so many students lacking basic internet access, securing these funds remains a top priority. High-speed connectivity will allow Arizona’s students to utilize technology, which includes access to Arizona’s internationally recognized Telemedicine Program with its grades seven through twelve pre-med introduction course to dramatically increase their educational aptitude and overall chances for success.”

    Equal access to broadband services is critical to the success of a child’s education in the 21st century, especially for under-served children from small schools in rural parts of Arizona. Currently, only 23 percent of Arizona school districts meet national affordability benchmarks for broadband access. This announcement is a decisive win for all Arizona schools and its students.

    Posted in Broadband, E-rate | Tagged , , , |
    Published: April 7th, 2017

    E-Rate Paperwork Deadline Coming Soon

    Milan Eaton, the State E-Rate Director has also emphasized that the Form 470 for the E-Rate Program should be posted for the existing connections, in addition to a 470 for any necessary construction projects. There may also be an inclusion of a third Form 470 for the add-on Arizona Broadband for Education Initiative. These are all due by April 13, 2017. These programs may go hand-in-hand to the ultimate benefit of Arizona students.

    Please contact Milan Eaton with any questions regarding either the E-Rate Program or the Broadband Initiative.

    Posted in E-rate |
    Published: February 14th, 2017

    How is the proposed State Matching Fund related to E-rate?

    The State Matching Provision was instituted as part of the E-rate Modernization Orders implemented over the last few years. In the Second E-rate Modernization Order, the FCC adopted rules providing additional Category One funding to match state funding for special construction to connect schools and libraries to high-speed broadband services that meet the FCC’s long-term capacity broadband goals. The E-rate Program will increase an applicant’s discount rate for special construction charges up to an additional 10% to match state funding on a one-to-one dollar basis. For schools operated by the Bureau of Indian Education or Tribal governments and libraries operated by Tribal governments, the one-to-one dollar match of up to 10% will be available for funding received for special construction costs from states, Tribal governments, or other federal agencies.

    Schools must participate in the E-rate program to be eligible to receive state matching funds.

    Posted in Broadband, E-rate, FAQ |
    Published: February 1st, 2017

    What is the “Arizona Broadband for Education Initiative” ?

    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.

    Posted in Broadband, E-rate, FAQ, News |
    Published: January 26th, 2017

    USAC E-Rate News Brief: January 19, 2017

    The following news brief was published as a USAC School and Libraries Program News Brief on January 17, 2017.

    USAC Schools and Libraries Program News Brief

    January 19, 2017

    TIP OF THE WEEK: Applicants and service providers must submit invoices for FY2015 non-recurring services on or before January 30, 2017. If you need an extension, review the guidance in last week’s SL News Brief on the Deadline Extension Tool and request your extension no later than January 30.

    Note that the USAC will be closed Friday, January 20, 2017.

    Commitments for Funding Year 2016

    Funding Year 2016. USAC is scheduled to release Funding Year (FY) 2016 Wave 31 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) next week. This wave includes commitments for approved applications for all service types and at all discount levels. As of January 19, FY2016 commitments total over $1.92 billion.

    On the date the FCDLs are issued, you can access your FCDL notification from the Notifications section of your landing page in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC).

    Additional Information on Profile Updates in EPC

    During the Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) review of FY2016 applications, some reviewers identified changes to applicant profile information that were required to successfully process the application. The reviewers updated those FCC Form(s) 471 but did not update the actual applicant profiles.

    In last week’s SL News Brief, we described the process we are following to update the applicant profiles where PIA identified changes.

    • Last week, we sent an email to applicants who made changes to their profiles after July 21, 2016 notifying them that our updates would overwrite those changes. Those applicants now have until January 26 to inform us that they do not want us to proceed with our changes.
    • We will send an email to applicants who did not make changes to their profiles informing them that we have made our updates.
    • If no changes were made to your profile, no action is required.

    If your profile has been updated, you have two options to review changes to your profile information – the Modifications menu item and the Entity Download Tool.

    Modifications menu item

    Each entity profile page in the E-rate Productivity Center has a menu item in the left-hand column labeled “Modifications.” When you click this item, you will see two sections on the Modifications page:

    • The first section, labeled “Modifications by User,” lists all of the modifications you or other users on your organization have made to this specific entity. When you make a modification, remember to use a nickname that is clear, concise, and descriptive, as this list does not provide the details of the modification.
    • The second section, labeled “Modifications by System,” lists all of the modifications USAC copied to this specific entity. Each entry includes a link to the list of the updated fields and displays the current and original data value so you can compare the information. Modifications in these lists are specific to the entity. In other words, a school district or library system would have to go to its profile page and the profile pages of each of its schools or library branches to review all of the modifications.

    Entity Download Tool

    The Entity Download Tool is now available on the Tools page of the USAC website. This tool displays most of the fields contained in entity profiles. The user guide – which is posted together with the tool itself – includes a list of the fields contained in the tool.

    With this tool, you can download all of the entities you would like to review. The tool will not specifically identify the fields that have been changed, but it will provide the date of the last update and the name of the user who performed the update.

    Note that you must download the entity information for an entire state. You can then sort the results and concentrate only on the entities you want to review.

    Next steps

    We strongly suggest that all applicants refrain from making additional changes to their profiles until we have completed this process. Because we sometimes become aware of changes after a funding wave runs, we may still identify changes in the near future. Again, we will communicate with any affected applicants by email if we become aware of those changes.

    We will also provide a notification when we have completed this process so that applicants can go into their profiles and make any necessary updates in preparation for the opening of the FY2017 application filing window.

    Posted in E-rate, News | Tagged , , |