Published: May 8th, 2017

Arizona Legislature Funds the Broadband Expansion Project

On Friday, May 5, 2017, the Arizona Legislature passed its fiscal year 2018 budget. One of the most important budget priorities for the Arizona Department of Education received funding, which was the Arizona Broadband for Education Initiative.

The legislature appropriated $3 million to the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) for this broadband expansion project.

The Arizona Broadband for Education Initiative is a project to ensure that every public K-12 instructional building in the state is connected via high-speed and reliable broadband connections in order to enable digital learning in the classroom. Equal access to broadband services is critical to the success of a child’s education in the 21st century, especially for underserved children from small schools in rural parts of Arizona. Currently, only 23 percent of Arizona school districts meet national affordability benchmarks for broadband access.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) offered enhanced discounts for special construction of broadband infrastructure based on a dollar-for-dollar state match up to 10 percent of the total project cost. The Arizona Governor’s office, the Corporation Commission, the Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas, the Secretary of State, and the nonprofit organization EducationSuperHighway have partnered to make this project become a reality.

The successful funding by the Arizona Legislature is a decisive win for everyone concerned who have been in the trenches from the beginning, fighting for this broadband project. Now it’s time to role up the proverbial sleeves and get busy in making broadband available to all Arizona schools and libraries. Please visit EducationSuperHighway or ADE’s Broadband blog for more information.

Posted in Broadband, News | Tagged , |
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.

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