On March 10, 2016, Governor Greg Abbott announced the Classroom Connectivity Initiative. The initiative is designed to increase access to affordable, high-speed broadband and Wi-Fi access for K–12 public schools in Texas. The Classroom Connectivity Initiative focuses on providing information and assistance to LEAs to optimize funding available through the E-rate program.
We work with your district in three areas:
State Matching Fund:
by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) though the Second E-rate Modernization Order
by the 85th Texas
State Legislature in June 2017
$25 million of state funds for E-rate eligible Category 1 special construction
- State matching funds reduce the local funding share
for E-rate approved Category 1 special construction projects by
providing a dollar-for-dollar match. Therefore, if Texas provides $25 million,
the FCC will provide $25 million.
with an E-rate discount of 80% to 90% can have their E-rate approved Category 1 special construction project fully funded.
with an E-rate discount rate less than 80% can receive an additional 20% of
their approved project costs.
for the E-rate Funding Year 17 and Funding Year 18 cycles
detailed information is available on our Texas State Match Fund FAQ and Texas State Match Fund Application Process page.
Current E-rate Opportunities:
E-rate funding and rule changes have created an opportunity
to support LEA bandwidth upgrades:
new fiber (lit, dark, or self-provisioned) is an eligible Category 1 E-rate
FCC has suspended the $500,000 cap on construction costs
to an additional 20% E-rate discount is available through the Texas State Matching
fund this cycle
$150/student Category 2 Wi-Fi budget is guaranteed per school through funding year 2019
Category 1 services. Category 1 include services used to connect broadband or Internet to eligible
locations, or services that provide the basic conduit access to the Internet,
data transmission services, Internet access and voice services.
Category 2 services.
Category 2 services include internal connections services needed to
enable high-speed broadband connectivity and broadband internal connections
components. Category 2 includes local area networks/wireless local area
networks (LAN/WLAN), internal connections components, basic maintenance of
internal connections components, and managed internal broadband services.
Many Education Service Centers (ESC) assist districts in the E-rate process. This may include assisting
with filing for E-rate funding or the creation of consortiums and consortium
applications to take advantage of economies of scale.
TEA has partnered with EducationSuperHighway (ESH) to provide experts with
network technology and network procurement skills. The team can support all
aspects of your upgrade process. Our partners can assist with research on
potential network upgrade options, contact service providers, and provide RFP/
Form 470 guideline assistance for E-rate and state match applications. All assistance through the Classroom
Connectivity Initiative is provided free of charge.
ESH’s Compare and
Connect K-12 tool allows districts to maximize their budgets by
comparing prices with nearby school districts.