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    2021 E-rate filing window announced, more than $4 billion available to support, improve school and library connectivity

    Published on January 6, 2021

    Washington, DC: Soon, school districts across the country can once again apply for federal E-rate funding to support and improve internet connectivity and classroom Wi-Fi.  The Universal Service Administration Company (USAC), which administers the program under the direction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has announced the Funding Year 2021 filing window for Form 471 applications will open at Noon ET on Friday, January 15 and will remain open until 11:59pm ET on Thursday, March 25.

    “The E-rate Program is incredibly important, not only to keep schools and libraries connected at a basic level, but to obtain the bandwidth necessary enable immersive digital learning opportunities, which improve the quality of instruction and engage students in more meaningful ways,” said Brent Legg, Connected Nation’s Executive Vice President, Government Affairs. “Yet many school districts across the country are not maximizing the program to drive competition, reduce prices, and increase speeds.  That is why we, along with Funds For Learning, created ConnectK12.org to help school districts compare pricing and bandwidth data so that they are empowered to negotiate better deals for service.”

    Connect K-12 is the nation’s only free, easy-to-use resource for internet speed and pricing data for the nation’s schools.  The site, which launched in November 2020, provides detailed information at the local, state, and national levels to help state and school district leaders track their progress toward meeting the FCC’s 1 Mbps per student bandwidth goal.  It will be updated annually after the close of each year’s E-rate funding cycle.

    “Time is of essence right now. We want to make sure state and school district leaders are equipped with the intelligence necessary to help them obtain better access for their students and teachers,” said Emily Jordan, CN’s Vice President, Connect K-12, Connected Nation. “Connect K-12 aggregates, analyzes, and visualizes E-rate data so that leaders can stretch E-rate dollars further.  But the first step is accessing the site.”