In a formally submitted Ex Parte submission to the FCC, Funds For Learning® provided detailed analysis of E-rate applicant out-of-pocket expenses, estimates of demand for Priority Two funding, and the results from the survey of E-rate applicants which FFL recently conducted.
Funds For Learning CEO John Harrington shared the following conclusions during the presentation:
- The average out-of-pocket expense paid for telecommunications and Internet access does not vary significantly among most E-rate applicants, regardless of their location or E-rate discount rate
- Telecommunications and Internet access expenses in remote rural Alaska defy comparison to other locations
- A small portion of E-rate applicants consume a disproportionate amount of the fund each year
- In survey after survey, applicants report frustration with the current form preparation and application process
- E-rate applicants continue to express a strong desire for multi-year funding commitments
- Funds For Learning estimates that the current nationwide total demand for Internal Connections is roughly $5.93 billion plus an additional $0.59 billion in annual ongoing basic maintenance expenses
- In our survey, there was no clear consensus amongst respondents as to the deployment of VoIP and the replacement of plain old telephone service
Based on our conclusions from these various analyses, Funds For Learning® suggests that, with the right adjustments to the program, the overall E-rate application process could be simplified and applicants would be able to effectively utilize E-rate discounts for connectivity both to and within the building.