Each year, Networkmaine seeks E-Rate discounts for Internet Access and transport services on behalf of eligible Networkmaine consortium members.
Consortium members who receive Internet and transport services arranged by Networkmaine do not file E-Rate forms (470, 471, etc) to USAC to receive E-Rate funding for these services. Instead, member sites enroll annually with Networkmaine during a pre-enrollment period and an enrollment period.
Each year, Networkmaine:
- gathers data and forms during pre-enrollment and enrollment
- arranges Internet and transport services for its members with various service providers
- files with USAC for E-Rate funding for the Internet and transport services
- receives and pays service provider bills for these services
- receives funding approval and reimbursement from USAC for a percentage of the total amount paid
- receives reimbursement from the Maine Telecommunications Education Access Fund administered by the Maine Public Utilities Commission for the remainder of the amount paid
To sum up: consortium members receive free Internet and transport services as long as they enroll annually with Networkmaine!
A few words of caution ...
- Filing for E-Rate services as a member of the Networkmaine consortium does not affect the member's ability to apply for other E-Rate eligible services.
- If a member site wishes to apply for other E-Rate eligible services, they must file E-Rate forms with USAC as specified on this website.
- Whether or not a member site applies on its own for other E-Rate eligible services, they must complete Networkmaine enrollment within the notated deadlines to receive the Internet and transport services arranged by Networkmaine at no cost.
- A member site cannot apply to USAC directly to receive E-Rate funding for the Internet and transport services that are arranged by Networkmaine. This is handled by the applications that Networkmaine files.
During an annual pre-enrollment period (typically in October), Networkmaine obtains free and reduced lunch program data for its members in preparation for filing for E-Rate funding. All consortium members must report their income eligibility for free and reduced lunch on an annual basis in order to determine E-Rate funding levels for the coming year.
In most instances, Networkmaine utilizes the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) data that its members have reported to the Maine Department of Education. Those schools and districts that provide NSLP eligibility data to the Department of Education do not need to participate in pre-enrollment.
However, it is not possible to collect NSLP data for all sites from the Department of Education. Those sites that do not appear on the Department of Education free and reduced lunch report need to participate in pre-enrollment by submitting income eligibility data on an alternative discount mechanism form (ADM). Sites that need to participate in pre-enrollment will be notified by Networkmaine.
Alternative Discount Mechanism Form (ADM)
A site that must submit an ADM form during pre-enrollment falls into one or more of the categories below:
- does not report free and reduced lunch numbers to the Department of Education
- does not have a school lunch program and/or students are provided lunch at another location
(e.g. technical center or region)
- is a private school
- is a non-instructional facility
(e.g. superintendent office, bus garage)
- reports to the DOE differently than as is filed with USAC
(e.g. as a single entity rather than as separate campuses)
- historically raises red flags during E-Rate application reviews
Libraries never have to participate in pre-enrollment as Networkmaine simply uses NSLP data for the district in which each library is located.
During an annual enrollment period (typically in January), collection of Form 479s, Participation Agreements, and Letters of Agency occurs. A new Form 479 is required every year, whereas the Participation Agreement and Letter of Agency is valid for a multi-year period.
All schools and libraries that enroll in the Networkmaine Consortium are required to sign a multi-year Participation Agreement. The Participation Agreement form affirms the Member's obligation to pay any assessed participation fees and defines the commitment a Member institution makes to Networkmaine and vice versa.
Letter of Agency
Members of Networkmaine are required to sign and submit a Letter of Agency (LOA) to provide authorization for Networkmaine to file for E-Rate funding on their behalf. The LOA is a multi-year contract between Networkmaine and the signing entity, and will in most cases only need to be signed once by a person of authority for it to remain valid for the contract span. However, those school districts that have experienced significant organizational changes such as merging with another district or withdrawing from a district may be asked to sign a new LOA. A new LOA is not required in the event of a change in superintendent or other person of authority.
Members of Networkmaine must annually submit a FCC Form 479 signed by a person of authority to certify CIPA compliance every year. This form is submitted to Networkmaine so that the consortium may in turn be able to truthfully state that the entities on the E-Rate applications that they file on behalf of their consortium members are in fact CIPA compliant.