E-Rate Funding for School Bus WiFi Available Following FCC's Release of FY24 Eligible Services List

Announcement provides summary of E-Rate funding guidelines as plans commence for widespread adoption of school bus WiFi solutions

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has taken an additional step towards bridging the digital divide for millions of students nationwide by releasing the Eligible Services List (ESL) for the 2024-25 school year, which clarifies and expands E-Rate funding for school bus WiFi. This decision opens the door for widespread adoption of WiFi on school buses, offering exciting new opportunities for enhancing learning and educational equity.

"The FCC's ESL guidance marks a turning point for connecting every student," said Ben Weintraub, CEO of Kajeet. "By classifying essential school bus WiFi equipment and installation as Category One E-Rate funding, the FCC has removed a major barrier and paves the way for millions of students."

The new ESL clarifies that equipment needed to make school bus WiFi service functional (e.g., antennas, routers, modems), as well as associated data service and installation fees, are eligible for funding as Category One services within the E-Rate program.

Key Highlights:

  • Category One Eligibility: The FCC now classifies WiFi on school buses as a Category One E-Rate service, making it eligible for significant funding discounts for schools and districts. This simplifies the funding process and reduces the financial burden of implementing WiFi solutions.
  • Expanded Coverage Options: Districts can leverage providers that offer multi-carrier and eSIM solutions to ensure complete coverage across their service areas. Additionally, districts may utilize multiple network connections on the same bus if needed for reliable connection.
  • Comprehensive Funding: E-Rate covers equipment (including portable kits), installation services, software, and data service costs. This reduces the need for additional school district funding. Funding is available to districts that own, lease, or contract their buses.
  • Focus on Education: Connections are permitted during student transportation or school-related activities, and during clear educational purposes outside of these hours. However, non-educational after-hours usage is not supported.
  • Year-Round Access: All twelve months of service are reimbursable, eliminating summer discounts or premium pricing. This ensures continuous connectivity for educational purposes.

As the leading school bus WiFi solution provider, Kajeet® is uniquely positioned to help districts meet the key criteria outlined by the FCC quickly and efficiently. With Kajeet SmartBus and its award-winning Sentinel® platform, schools gain:

  • Real-time data usage visibility
  • Granular policy control and CIPA-compliant content filtering
  • Multi-network flexibility for optimal coverage
  • Proven experience and expertise in school bus WiFi solutions
  • Hourly service controls to manage when is WiFi is available

Visit https://www.kajeet.com/school-bus-wifi to learn more about how E-Rate can transform your school buses into extensions of the classroom, empowering your students to learn without limits.

Key Dates:

  • December 15, 2023 – ESL is released
  • January 15, 2024 – The last date to update USAC applicant profiles
  • January 17, 2024 – Form 471 application filing window opens
  • February 28, 2024 – The last date a form 470 can be submitted
  • March 27, 2024 – Form 471 application filing window closes

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