In 1996, the US telecommunications act was passed, and this act aimed to provide affordable telecommunications and internet services to schools and libraries in low-income rural areas through the E-rate program. Meanwhile, it is made possible with the funds provided by the telecommunications service providers, and it is a part of the percentage of the international telecommunications revenue.
So to avail of this benefit, schools must strive to implement the best e-rate strategy to achieve e-rate compliance with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). It mandates the retention of all the documents to obtain compliance with the rules. And in 2014, it even extended the document retention period for ten years. As such, it is pretty hard for schools or library organizations to handle it.
Two Categories of Eligible Services and Equipment
- Category one includes voice services and high-speed broadband access. Schools can subscribe to these services from internet providers and obtain fiber services.
- Category two allows wireless access points and controller systems, and switches.
Annually, the federal government offers billions of dollars to schools to obtain high-speed internet access and equipment. As such, e-rate compliance with FCC assures facilities like cloud-based productivity and collaboration tools. Moreover, the government recently simplified the application process to make all schools inclusive.
Role of E-Rate Management Companies
Subsidiary companies want this program to be reached and flourish at the grassroots level and are determined that it is possible through technology. With these helping hands, schools and library organizations do not have to struggle to manage the records.
These companies organize records and document reports, use auto-sync features to centralize records, keep confidential data encrypted, and track and restore files if missed by any chance. But, why so much effort, and what are the benefits of e rate?
1. Low Cost for Advanced Modernization in Rural Areas
Several aspects, like increased competition, new technology, varied options in broadband services, and transparency, are used to achieve advanced modernization. Through this, many schools have access to high-speed broadband services. Another reason for low cost is that the amount payable to the services and technology is available in the public domain, allowing schools and libraries to negotiate.
2. Digital Classroom and Mobile Learning to All
There is now a growing interest in learning from digital media in the digital classroom, and it is especially true for teachers and education policymakers. Digital learning can provide a richer learning experience than traditional forms of knowledge.
Digital classrooms that use tablets, laptops, and smartphones for student interaction are excellent options for bringing learning to life. Besides, digital classrooms allow students to interact with their content and do so in a safe, hands-on way that doesn’t require them to change their behavior or do anything that might make them uncomfortable.
3. It Helps Reduce the Digital Divide and Equity Gap
The digital divide is the gap between those who can access the Internet and those who can’t. The gap is primarily a result of the disconnect between access to Internet content and the rate of technological change. It is also a result of the geographic distribution of Internet users. Besides, it refers to disparities in access to information and technologies by race, gender, ethnicity, etc. As such, numerous kids will benefit from this initiative.
Education is necessary for the development of a person; it is a way to be engaged with others and develop into a person capable of self-reliance and self-direction. Hence, it is a noble deed to make that available for everyone, and this act emphasizes that earth has a place for everyone, and no one is discriminated against on any basis.