State Matching Funds

In the Second E-rate Modernization Order, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted rules providing additional Category One funding to match any appropriated state funding for “special construction” costs to connect schools and libraries to high-speed broadband services. Specifically, these new rules allow the FCC’s E-rate Program to provide up to an additional 10% to match any appropriated state funding for fiber special construction on a one-to-one dollar basis. This Modernization Order presents school districts with an unprecedented opportunity to connect schools to fiber.

Does Your State Have a Matching Fund?

A number of states have appropriated funds for a state match to support school districts in connecting to high-speed broadband services. The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) has a process for verifying that the state funds meet all eligibility requirements and makes public the list of eligible state matching funds on its website.

Important Requirement to Receive State Matching Funds

As part of state match review for a special construction project, USAC’s review process will also consider compliance with the FCC’s long-term per student bandwidth goals. The FCC adopted these standards as part of the E-rate Modernization Orders. As a result, districts that wish to be funded for additional FCC E-rate match funding are expected to adhere to the following requirement: the underlying technology being constructed and the signed contract must both allow an applicant to scale to the long term bandwidth goals of 1 Mbps per student on an Internet access connection and 10 Mbps per student on a WAN connection. In other words, the applicant does not need to receive those speeds on day one, but must be able to upgrade to those speeds during the life of the contract.

Calculating Matching Funds at a District/E-rate applicant level:

An example of how E-rate State Matching Funds are calculated and applied by districts applying for funding can be found on the USAC site. Additional and more detailed examples can be found below.