Industry News

Funds For Learning ‘E-rate Trends Report’ Reveals Rapidly Growing Need for Broadband

Record-breaking 1,700-plus responses from E-rate applicants shows continued value of funding for schools and libraries

EDMOND, OKLA. (June 24, 2019) – In an effort to understand how E-rate funding can best serve modern needs of applicants and deliver feedback to the Federal Communications Commission, Funds For Learning releases findings from its ninth annual E-Rate Trends Report. As schools and libraries continue to utilize the federal E-rate program to purchase essential products and services for connectivity, it is crucial to collect feedback on how the program is operating.

Results reveal that the E-rate program remains critical in establishing broadband connectivity for schools and libraries. Key provisions of the 2014 E-rate Order that expanded federal support for broadband internet connections will expire in 2020. The FCC calls upon stakeholders to present insights to determine how the program will serve schools and libraries in the upcoming decade.

Key 2019 survey findings include:

  • Digital learning continues to explode. 88 percent of applicants expect bandwidth needs of schools and libraries to increase in the next three years.
  • New admin creates positive results. 81 percent of applicants are satisfied with E-rate’s management under Radha Sekar, FCC Chairman Pai’s pick to improve customer service.
  • Barriers to internet still exist. 82 percent of applicants agree that insufficient internet access to home of students or library patrons is significant issue in their community.
  • New policies yield lower prices. 70 percent of applicants agree that E-rate competitive bidding rules are lowering prices for their internet access services.
  • Wi-Fi remains mission critical. 88 percent of applicants feel Wi-Fi is extremely important in fulfilling their mission. 79 percent of applicants in FY18 cited the same need, showing a consistent trend in Wi-Fi access for schools and libraries.

Participation in this year’s report was a record high, with 1,763 applicants from every state and territory completing the survey, representing about eight percent of all school and library applicants nationwide.

“Every year, we read through hundreds of responses that showcase how E-rate is mission critical for schools and libraries,” said John Harrington, CEO of Funds For Learning. “It’s vital to identify what’s working and what improvements must be made, and to deliver that feedback directly to the FCC.”

Findings from the report will aid and inform key policymakers and administrative members in maintaining the value of the E-rate program, and adapting funding to meet stakeholder needs.

Download the complete 2019 Trends Report.

About Funds For Learning

Funds For Learning, LLC, is an E-rate compliance firm specializing in guiding E-rate applicants through the E-rate regulatory process and is an advocate for the use of educational technologies and student internet access. Formed in 1997, Funds For Learning provides professional advice and assistance relating to the E-rate program to clients in all 50 states. For more information, visit www.FundsForLearning.com or phone 405-341-4140.