The E-rate program appears to be on a consistent course. Early analysis of the funding year 2018 filing window shows demand and overall trends that are on-track with the past several years. Funds For Learning will be conducting a free webinar on April 25, 2018, to share all of our thoughts and analysis. The webinar is open to the public and you can register now.
Below are a few initial observations:
  • Overall demand for broadband Internet access has remained very steady at around $2 billion per year. This is a remarkable statistic given the increased bandwidth to most school and library sites. The overall lower price paid per megabit is having a significant impact bringing much faster speeds to schools and libraries, often times for little to no additional expense.
  • The demand for discounts on voice services has gone to nearly zero. Unfortunately, this statistic reflects the FCC’s change in the E-rate eligible service list. It does not represent the practical reality for schools and libraries who still pay for local phone service.
  • Demand for on-campus projects (i.e. “internal connections”) is at $745 million, down from $900 million in FY2017.
  • The count of applicants declined by nearly 2,000. This trend is led by small schools and libraries (who lack the time and expertise to comply with confusing E-rate guidelines) and applicants who previously only requested discounts on telephone service.
Please attend our webinar April 25 as we explore the funding year 2018 data in more detail.