The E-Rate season is in full swing! Now is the time to learn more about E-Rate so that you can fully leverage the available funds. Whether you are looking to purchase or upgrade firewalls or any other solutions, you should stop and see if you can utilize E-Rate funding to help save your school budget dollars.The E-Rate program can help schools meet the requirements to provide a safe computing environment for students. Learn more in this blog. Click To Tweet
To help you navigate the world at E-Rate, here are a few key things you’ll want to consider.
- Assess if your school qualifies for E-Rate discounts: The first step is to figure out if your school or public library is eligible. You will want to review the Universal Service Administration Company (USAC) E-Rate eligibility requirements website: https://www.usac.org/sl/applicants/beforeyoubegin/
- Determine if the services/solutions you are seeking are eligible: Internet access and many commercially available telecommunications services are eligible for discounts, as well as, equipment that allows access to these services. USAC provides an overview of Eligible Services to give you a general understanding of eligible products and services.
If you are seeking Firewalls, Barracuda has two eligible products: Barracuda CloudGen Firewalls and Barracuda Web Application Firewalls. These products are eligible for Category 2 funding under the Data Protection – Firewall for both Internal Connections and Managed Internal Broadband Service categories.E-Rate season is underway. Here's how to assess if your school and the services/solutions that you need qualify for funding. Click To Tweet
Once you have determined that you qualify for E-Rate and the services/solutions you seek are eligible, you need to work through the bid and application process.
- Request competitive bids for E-Rate-supported services: The bid request and competitive bidding process must comply with FCC rules and state and local procurement laws. To open the process, you will need to complete and post the FCC Form 470. Vendors will then bid on the requested services.
- Select service providers: After you close your competitive bidding process (28 days after filing the Form 470), you can evaluate the bids received and choose the bid that is the most cost-effective.
- Apply for discounts: To apply for Schools and Libraries Program discounts, file FCC Form 471 to provide USAC with information about the services you are requesting and the discount(s) for which you are eligible.
- Wait for the application review: After you file FCC Form 471, Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) reviewers at USAC check the information on your form for completeness and accuracy and may have additional questions for you to answer. You have 15 days to respond to PIA questions.
- Start services: After you have received your Funding Commitment Decision Letter (FCDL) and the delivery of your services has started, file FCC Form 486 to inform USAC that services can begin and that you are in compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) (if applicable).
- Invoicing: After USAC has processed your FCC Form 486, you or your service provider can begin the process of invoicing USAC for the discount share of the approved eligible services.
Again, E-Rate season is now…and there are a lot of details to think through. For a more in-depth understanding of the E-Rate program including how to determine if your school is eligible, the steps you need to take in order to apply and the key dates to keep in mind, watch our on-demand webinar featuring Barracuda’s E-Rate Consultant and Advisor, Jim Kerr of E-Rate Profit Werks. You can also find valuable information on the USAC website.
For more information on E-Rate and Barracuda solutions, visit our website here.Barracuda CloudGen Firewalls and Barracuda Web Application Firewalls are eligible for E-Rate Category 2 funding. This free webinar shows you how to apply. Click To Tweet