Serving the Public Sector

Developed as part of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP),  iFiber serves the public sector:  not-for-profit Community Anchor Institutions. iFiber provides ongoing support and maintenance for the nearly 500 original Community Anchor Institutions (CAIs) already on the 900-mile  network.

 

E-Rate and Other Resources for CAIs

What is a CAI?   Think of your typical municipal facilities and you’re probably thinking of a Community Anchor Institution: schools, colleges, libraries, municipalities, police & fire departments, courthouses, not-for-profit entities, etc.

What types of connections does iFiber provide for CAIs?   iFiber classifies its connections as either a 1 Gbps lit fiber connection or a 1 to 10 Gbps point-to-point lit fiber connection.

What is E-Rate?   E-Rate is a program of USAC that gives funding to schools and libraries through an open bidding process. USAC, or the Universal Services Administrative Company, is an entity designated by the Federal Communications Commission responsible for administering a roughly $10 billion fund that can be used to pay for Internet connections within impoverished regions, whether rural or urban. In Illinois, the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) has entered into state master contracts with vendors to support ICN customers for their E-rate category 2 purchases. The original RFP was made available via an E-rate form 470 thus allowing schools and libraries that are ICN customers to order from the state master contracts directly without having to issue an E-rate form 470. The state has already conducted a competitive bidding process and selected vendors. Click here for additional information and to view the state master contracts.

What are E-Rate Benefits?   Eligible schools and libraries may receive discounts ranging from 20-90 percent on telecommunication services, depending on economic need and location. The discount is based upon the percentage of students eligible for participation in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or other federally approved programs contained in the The Improving America’s Schools Act. Libraries should use the discount percentage of their local school district. Contact the Illinois Central Network – Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology for more information.

What are key E-Rate program deadlines?   USAC keeps a calendar of E-Rate deadlines. You can subscribe to USAC updates and notifications.