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Sunday, February 21st, 2010

If you're not familiar with E-Rate, it's a federal program to provide funding to schools and libraries for telecommunications and internet access. As far as I understand, companies that provide interstate and international telecommunication services are charged a universal service fee by the government. This money is then distributed to eligible schools and libraries that apply for it based on their poverty level.

I'm still not sure how Harley can qualify for this, but apparently we do. This is the first year I've been in charge of filing for it, but we've gotten money in previous years. The process is simple on paper but annoying in reality.

Basically you have to fill out form 470 which says you're going to be applying. Then you have to wait at least 28 days in an open bidding process. During this time providers for the services you said you wanted on form 470 contact you trying to sell themselves. Once you pick the providers then you fill out form 471 which is officially asking for money. These forms can take quite a long time to fill out. They ask for all sorts of information that you won't know off the top of your head and it takes you so long to find the information your session on the website will have expired and you have to login again and start over (or from a save point).

If we get approved we could get 40% off our bills, which is a huge amount. Friday was the extended deadline for the 471 form so hopefully we'll find out if we get the funding soon. I'm pretty sure there will be more forms to fill out if we do get some...

Tags: erate fcc money

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