- Provide an infrastructure that is more scalable, reliable and cost effective than with legacy technologies such as T1s, Frame Relay and ATM
- Enable distance learning and remote video surveillance
- Provide centralized score storage and course curriculum delivery
The introduction of bandwidth-intensive learning applications, including video and peer-to-peer applications in teaching has fundamentally transformed the way teachers teach and students learn. The federal E-Rate program has forever changed the technology landscape of school districts and libraries in the United States.
The E-Rate program (EducationRate) was approved by Congress as part of the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
Over $20 billion has been committed to schools and libraries since the program was created. As schools and districts expand their electronic curriculum through streaming video and web-based applications, the demand for E-Rate dollars remains strong. Each year there are over 20,000 applicants requesting funds for discounts of 20 to 90 percent on eligible services, products and e-Education content delivery.
The program is intended, in part, to address the “digital divide” that blocks disadvantaged communities from equal access to the benefits of technology.
Undoubtedly, E-Rate funding is a resource to help school districts achieve their technology goals and enable tomorrow’s learning applications today. This funding particularly is valuable at present as school budgets are under significant pressure.
The availability and application performance advantages of fiber connectivity via Metro Ethernet in the private sector has some in the public sector asking, “Why not in my schools too?” The very technology that has been powering the enterprise is now available to schools.