Who wants a portion of $10,000,000 to fund their school’s mobile technology needs?
I do! The FCC is piloting a new program called “E-Rate Deployed Ubiquitously.” What a tongue twister!
This pilot program is giving ten million dollars in the 2011 fiscal year to support innovative and interactive off-premise wireless device connectivity for schools and libraries.
Does this mean funding can be provided for mobile devices that utilize cellular networks, or is it limited to just providing the mobile hardware?
One thing is for sure – the need for funding mobile technology is finally being addressed. Maybe with this new funding, we’ll see more of an effort from Apple, Amazon, and other mobile hardware developers to penetrate our classrooms.
The FCC is using the pilot program to gain more information about the issues surrounding the use of mobile technology at off-site locations. This information will then help establish permanent rules, which leads me to believe that the FCC is looking to provide future financial support for mobile hardware.
If your district ends up receiving funds from this pilot program, the FCC expects data reports back from you… I guess that’s one caveat, which isn’t really that big of one.
The application is a two-step process – the FCC will release due dates for the first part of the application process in a Public Notice. Interested applicants will then need to submit information about the program they’d like to implement directly to the FCC. Following this, applicants must also apply for e-rate, following the regular e-rate rules and timeframes.
It looks like they’re giving preference to those that already have mobile programs in place; however, don’t let that discourage you or your district from applying.
I’ll post more information when I receive it. If you have any questions or any information that might help readers, please post in the comments section below.
For more information relating directly to this new program and other new E-Rate funding guidelines, please view this slideshow provided by the Universal Service Administration Company (www.usac.org). To learn more about new E-Rate guidelines, please click here to be directed to E-Ratecentral.com.