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Arizona’s E-Rate program offers affordable broadband access for schools


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  • Milan Eaton/Arizona Department of Education

Students Working On Their Laptops In Class. Photo Courtesy Sunnyside Unified School District

The Arizona Department of Education would like to inform you of an incredible opportunity for underserved Local Education Agencies to receive broadband access at potentially no cost to the school.

Currently, only six percent of Arizona schools meet the FCC target of $3 per MB for internet access. Furthermore, many schools in our state’s most rural areas possess no access to any internet connection whatsoever.

Arizona's E-Rate program offers affordable broadband access for schools ArizonasERateProgram

Arizona’s E-Rate Progam. Photo courtesy Arizona Department of Education

Arizona’s vision is to provide statewide scalable internet access, as well as faster connectivity to every school so that every student in the state has reliable broadband access.

With access to broadband, students can take remote classes and receive digital learning opportunities that they never knew existed. Educators will be able to dramatically enhance their professional development capabilities and communities will be transformed by the cultural and economic benefits of simply being connected to the internet.

The program that will make this possible for LEAs is Arizona’s E-Rate program. Already, the E-Rate program has assisted 3.2 million students, improved the infrastructure of 2,229 buildings and benefitted 545 schools in Arizona.

As of 2008, the state was able to procure just 33 percent of its requested E-Rate funds, receiving only about $60 million of nearly $180 million in funding requests. Due to its performance in recent years, that number has now increased to roughly 90 percent, allowing technology to reach more Arizona students than ever before.

Now, due to changes in the E-Rate rules and regulations, as well as assistance from EducationSuperHighway, there is no better time for an LEA in Arizona to dramatically increase its infrastructure and receive internet build-outs at potentially no cost. However, the window for this access will close in the near future if LEAs don’t act immediately.

The process for applying for these opportunities is simple. LEAs do not have to complete much work to receive this extraordinary benefit.

Here are the steps you need to take today to get your LEA and community broadband connected:
1. Schedule a call with EducationSuperHighway by December 1, 2016 (the group that will walk you through this) at www.tinyurl.com/arizonateam.

2. Fill out a 470 form (only six pages and EducationSuperHighway will help you fill it out!) and include an RFP that EducationSuperHighway will help you prepare.

3. Evaluate bid responses in accordance with E-Rate rules and make your award to your chosen vendor.

4. File E-Rate form 471 by the deadline (has not been announced yet).

Please do not miss this chance to better support your students, school and community for years to come. It could be a once-in-a -generation opportunity.

Please feel free to contact Education SuperHighway Outreach Coordinator Alyssa Cubello at alyssa@educationsuperhighway.org or State E-Rate Controller for Schools Milan Eaton at milan.eaton@azed.gov for any additional information or questions.

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