E-Rate Technology plans

Technology Planning and E-Rate

Starting with Funding Year 2011/2012, technology plans are ONLY required of applicants that intend to purchase Priority 2 internal connections or basic maintenance of internal connections. Technology plans are no longer a prerequisite for applicants to receive E-rate discounts on Priority 1 telecommunications and Internet access service. Individual states, however, may continue to require technology plans to address your use of telecommunications and Internet access services. Also, other federal and/or state programs may still require technology plans. This is currently under review.

Timing of Writing Your Technology Plan

  • If your technology plan covers any portion of the twelve (12) months of the upcoming funding year, you may rely on your existing plan for posting your Form 470 for Priority 2 services and equipment. *Most tech plans are now aligned with the fiscal/funding year so it is unlikely you will be able to exercise this option.
  • If your existing technology plan expires prior to the start of the upcoming funding year, your new plan which covers all twelve (12) months of the upcoming funding year a draft of the upcoming plan must be written before you may post a Form 470 for Priority 2 services and equipment for the upcoming year. For example, if your plan expires on June 30, 2013, your new plan which includes the period July 1, 2013-June 30, 2016 must be written before you post a Form 470 for Priority 2 services and equipment in the fall/winter of 2012, for FY 2013.
  • The “written” technology plan requirement means that the plan must cover four core requirements itemized below and must include references to all Priority 2 E-rate services and equipment that you intend to include on your Form 470 and Form 471 applications. The plan does not have to be finished or approved by the date that you post your Form 470 but it must contain the four required elements.
  • Keep documentation to demonstrate that your technology plan was written on or before the date you post a Form 470 for Priority 2 services and equipment. USAC may ask for this documentation during the PIA process or later when an applicant submits a Form 486 (and certifies that an approved technology plan is in place) or during some other Special Compliance Review.

Minimum Requirements of E-rate Technology Plans

  1. The plan must establish clear goals and a realistic strategy for using telecommunications and information technology to improve education or library services.
  2. The plan must have a professional development strategy to ensure that staff know how to use these new technologies to improve education or library services.
  3. The plan must include an assessment of the telecommunication services, hardware, software, and other services that will be needed to improve education or library services; and
  4. The plan must include an evaluation process that enables the school or library to monitor progress toward the specified goals and make mid-course corrections in response to new developments and opportunities as they arise.

As of FY 2011/2012: Applicants are no longer required to itemize their technology budget in their technology plan for E-rate purposes. Nevertheless, applicants still need to develop budget information, since the Form 471 requires applicants to specify how much they have budgeted for technology resources not paid by E-rate to make effective use of E-rate discounts (Block 6, Item 25).

Approval Process

The FCC and USAC require independent approval of an applicant’s technology plan in order to participate in the E-rate program. The plan must be approved by the time services begin (usually July 1). When submitting and certifying Form 486, you must name the USAC-certified entity that approved your technology plan. Be sure to retain documentation of approval of your technology plan as USAC may ask for this proof during a Form 486 tech plan review.

In Tennessee, the approving authority for Technology Plans is the Tennessee Department of Education.

To submit your plan for approval or for documentation of the existence of your DRAFT plan, please send your plan by email to: kfriends@tennsec.com

For ‘draft’ plans, we will perform a cursory review of the plan to ensure it meets the minimum requirements and send you written confirmation (via email) of its existence.

For ‘final’ plans requiring review and approval by July 1, please send them via email to kfriends@tennsec.com no later than May 1 to ensure timely review, comment and approval well in advance of the June 30 expiration.

Any questions, please call (855) 45-ERATE.