Tag Archives: Broadband Access

Special update on E-Rate and broadband: FCC considers cap on Universal Service Fund

As we noted in an earlier post, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is proposing an overall cap on Universal Service Fund (USF) revenue and a sub-cap on USF allocations to the E-Rate and Rural Health Care programs. We are concerned these actions could potentially damage these important programs, and especially E-Rate.

The FCC has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on its proposal, which could force the four programs funded under USF, including E-Rate, to battle each other for funds. The FCC is calling for comments by a July 15 deadline with reply comments due thirty days later. This is an especially tough deadline for schools to meet, as most are out for the summer and, chances are, few teachers and administrators are focused on federal policy making. Continue reading Special update on E-Rate and broadband: FCC considers cap on Universal Service Fund

Recent state and federal moves on e-rate funds raise caution flags

Among other state budget actions, the Joint Finance Committee voted along party-lines last week to transfer $22 million in federal e-rate funds (which are meant to support telecommunications services in schools and libraries–the “e” in e-rate stands for “education”) in each year of the budget to the Broadband Expansion Grant Program. The amount transferred is $19.8 million more than what the Governor’s budget had proposed.

While this may be viewed by some as good news for rural areas that currently lack adequate broadband (high-speed internet) connections, it could spell concerns for schools and libraries in the future. Continue reading Recent state and federal moves on e-rate funds raise caution flags

JFC action on educational technology

As mentioned in our previous post, the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) voted on several educational technology budget provisions today.

The JFC approved the Governor’s twin recommendations to extend the sunset of the IT infrastructure grant program to June 30, 2021 and to reduce the amount awarded under the IT infrastructure grant program from $7.5 million per year to $3 million per year.

The JFC also approved the Governor’s recommendation to eliminate the technology training grant program, which had been funded at $1.5 million per year.

As a result of today’s votes, funding for these two TEACH grant programs  will decrease from $9 million per year to $3 million per year, in line with the governor’s recommendations.

JFC continues voting on budget; next up is educational technology

The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) will be voting tomorrow (Tuesday, May 14) on a number of items in Governor Evers’ proposal related to educational technology and the TEACH program.  Among them are proposals that would:

1) Eliminate TEACH Educational Technology Training Grants.

2) Transfer $24 million in federal e-rate funding meant for schools and libraries to the state’s Broadband Expansion Grant Program.

3) Continue TEACH Infrastructure Grants until 2021 but reduce funding for thee grants from $7.5 million to $3 million per year. Continue reading JFC continues voting on budget; next up is educational technology

Summary of budget provisions related to libraries & technology

The  information below describes provisions in the governor’s 2019-21 state budget proposal related to school libraries and educational technology.  It was compiled by the Wisconsin Educational Media & Technology Association (WEMTA).  WEMTA is an independent professional association serving school library media and instructional technology professionals. Continue reading Summary of budget provisions related to libraries & technology

DPI to host call-in session on tools to find home internet service discounts

Wisconsin has done a good job of getting increased amounts of bandwidth at a reasonable cost to our school buildings; however, that is not yet the case for many students at their homes.  Various state agencies have worked collaboratively with Internet service providers to develop easy-to-use tools to identify who provides internet access to a particular residential location and whether any eligible income-based discount programs might apply.   

As school registration/enrollment approaches, the DPI’s Division for Libraries and Technology has asked that we share information about these tools and how districts can use them to benefit student learning. Continue reading DPI to host call-in session on tools to find home internet service discounts

TEACH infrastructure grants awarded to 252 school districts

252 Wisconsin school districts will receive nearly $7.8 million in grants to improve broadband access and classroom technology under the Technology for Educational Achievement (TEACH) Information Technology Infrastructure Grant program.  Governor Walker announced the grant awards Monday during a visit to the Mosinee School District.

Continue reading TEACH infrastructure grants awarded to 252 school districts