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Improving Wireless Infrastructure for Schools

wireless infrastructure

E-rate program and enVista can help schools and libraries upgrade their IT infrastructure

With the Hoosier Educational Computer Coordinators Conference just weeks away, it is a great time to talk about what schools can do to improve their technology. One great program many schools have or should be taking advantage of is E-rate. The E-rate program through the Federal Communications Commission, administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company, offers federal grant money to provide discounts to schools and libraries seeking affordable telecommunications and internet access. When E-rate was established in 1996, only 14 percent of the nation’s K-12 classrooms had internet access. While that number is obviously at or very near 100 percent now, the program now focuses on helping schools and libraries meet the increasing demand for bandwidth. In a survey conducted by the FCC, nearly half of respondents reported slower speed internet connectivity than they had at home, despite having, on average, 200 times as many users.

According to the FCC, “…the program increases focus on the largest and most urgent need – closing the Wi-Fi gap – while transitioning support away from legacy technologies to 21st century broadband connectivity.”

Eligible schools and libraries may receive discounts ranging from 20 to 90 percent of funding required for eligible category one services (telecommunications, telecommunications services and internet access) and category two services (internal connections, managed internal broadband services and basic maintenance of internal connections). Most often, this grant money is awarded to schools in high poverty or more rural areas, but all schools are eligible to apply.

Every year, nearly $4 billion is awarded through the E-rate program. Schools or libraries must submit a request for competitive bids for E-rate supported services to the USAC, vendors then may choose to bid on a project, at which point the schools submit an application to the USAC for approval.

Not only can enVista help schools apply for the grant, we can offer expert advice in evaluation, planning, implementation, consolidation and migration of IT infrastructure. The result is lower total cost of ownership and an agile and dynamic IT infrastructure that can drive improved performance. We thrive on complex projects and understand that IT is the central nervous system of your organization!

Read more about how enVista can help design and implement a wireless infrastructure

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