E-rate Category Two ServicesThe second category of equipment and services eligible for E-rate support, Category Two, includes the internal connections needed for broadband connectivity within schools.
The information below was taken from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) order DA 17-973 (PDF), which announced the eligible services list (ESL) for funding year (FY) 2018.
Eligible Category Two products and services are listed below in three groups:
- Eligible Broadband Internal Connections
- Eligible Managed Internal Broadband Services
- Basic Maintenance of Eligible Broadband Internal Connections
Data Transmission Services and Internet Access
The second category of equipment and services eligible for E-rate support, Category Two, includes the internal connections needed for broadband connectivity within schools. Support is limited to the internal connections necessary to bring broadband into, and provide it throughout schools. These are broadband connections used for educational purposes within, between, or among instructional buildings that comprise a school campus and basic maintenance of these connections, as well as services that manage and operate owned or leased broadband internal connections (e.g., managed internal broadband services or managed Wi-Fi). Category Two support is subject to per-school budgets as set forth in 47 CFR § 54.502.
The eligible components and services in Category Two are:
Eligible Broadband Internal Connections
- Antennas, connectors and related components used for internal broadband connections
- Caching (See note 3)
- Firewall services and firewall components separate from basic firewall protection provided as a standard component of a vendor’s Internet access service
- Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)/Battery Backup
- Access points used in a local area network (LAN) or wireless local area network (WLAN) environment (such as wireless access points)
- Wireless controller systems
(1) Functionalities listed above that can be virtualized in the cloud, and equipment that combines eligible functionalities, like routing and switching, are also eligible.
(2) A manufacturer’s multi-year warranty for a period up to three years that is provided as an integral part of an eligible component, without a separately identifiable cost, may be included in the cost of the component.
(3) Caching is defined as a method that stores recently accessed information. Caching stores information locally so that the information is accessible more quickly than if transmitted across a network from a distance. A caching service or equipment that provides caching, including servers necessary for the provision of caching, is eligible for funding.
Eligible Managed Internal Broadband Services
- Services provided by a third party for the operation, management, and monitoring of eligible broadband internal connections are eligible managed internal broadband services (e.g., managed Wi-Fi).
- E-Rate support is limited to eligible expenses or portions of expenses that directly support and are necessary for the broadband connectivity within schools and libraries. Eligible expenses include the management and operation of the LAN/WLAN, including installation, activation and initial configuration of eligible components, and on-site training on the use of eligible equipment.
- In some eligible managed internal broadband services models, the third-party manager owns and installs the equipment and school and library applicants lease the equipment as part of the managed services contract. In other cases, the school or library may own the equipment, but have a third party manage the equipment for it.
Basic Maintenance of Eligible Broadband Internal Connections
E-Rate support is available for basic maintenance and technical support appropriate to maintain reliable operation when provided for eligible broadband internal connections.
The following basic maintenance services are eligible:
- Repair and upkeep of eligible hardware
- Wire and cable maintenance
- Configuration changes
- Basic technical support including online and telephone-based technical support
- Software upgrades and patches including bug fixes and security patches