E-Rate Challenges and Solutions
In this video, our Director of Technology Thomas Kinsinger shares some of the common problems that schools and libraries face when taking advantage of E-rate funding, and what they need to do to maximize their benefits under this program.
Visit our E-Rate Resource Center to learn more, or contact us today to get help with this season’s funding cycle.
Hi, I’m Thomas Kinsinger with E-N computers and I’m very excited to be able to talk about common mistakes that organizations will make when they are putting together a bid for E-rates.
(0:09) What are the Challenges with E-Rate?
Often I’m talking to organizations and they don’t take advantage of this program.
So what are some of the reasons?
Well, one is it can be kind of complex, it can be kind of confusing and so people look at that and they say “I don’t even want to bother. I don’t even want to waste my time trying to figure this out.”
There’s people that you can connect with that will help you through that process, and that’s a great way for some organizations to help manage that.
You could also visit our Learning Center and find some checklists and some documentation that will help guide you through that E-Rate process and what that looks like for your organization.
(0:46) What are the Common Mistakes?
Just putting out a bid for Category 1 funding. So this is going to give you your connectivity coming in to the building. But it’s not going to do anything for internal connectivity.
So you’re not going to get any switches, you’re not going to get any firewalls or routers, anything like that.
Organizations need to kind of be thinking holistically when they look at the two categories: What makes sense holistically for us as an organization?
Secondly, I see a lot of organizations that are maybe working with another partner that is providing some advice and consultation. And a lot of the advice and consultation is around process for filing.
But it’s not necessarily taking into consideration: Are you asking for the right things? Are you getting the right thing?
Often when we start talking to organizations we find that there’s a lot of things that they could be doing, and a lot of things that they could be getting funding for, and they’re just not.
They’re simply not taking advantage of it because the partner that they’re working with just hasn’t been consulting in a way that’s leading them down that holistic path.
It’s just, “Let’s get you in and let’s get you out.”
Thirdly, I see organizations put out a bid for hardware and they haven’t really thought through everything that they need.
Maybe they put out a bid for a wireless access point and it’s an outdoor wireless access point that requires antennas and they forget to include the antennas.
With E-Rates you’ve got to be specific. You’ve got to say, “I want the wireless access point, and I want the antenna to go with the access point.”
And if you don’t put that in there, you’re going to get bids without it, and it’s going to not be an apples to apples bid.
So if you’re an organization that’s not taking advantage of this, this is a huge opportunity for you. It will give you the ability to have some quality equipment.
I hope this has been informative and helpful, and we look forward to seeing you again soon.
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