Schools and Libraries (E-Rate)

Step 1 Technology Planning

A technology plan is a plan prepared by a school or library to explain how telecommunications and information technology will be used to achieve educational goals, curriculum reforms, or library service improvements.

Starting with Funding Year (FY) 2011, schools and libraries applying for Priority 2 Internal Connections and Basic Maintenance services must prepare a technology plan. Before FY2011, technology plans were required for all eligible services other than basic telephone service.

The Basics

  • In general, technology plans should not cover more than three years.
  • Technology plans should be written before you post an FCC Form 470 to the USAC website so that USAC can support the requests for services featured on that form.
  • The technology plan must be approved by a USAC-certified Technology Plan Approver (TPA) before an FCC Form 486 is filed and before services start.
  • Be sure your technology plan covers all 12 months of the funding year.

What To Include

Technology plans must at a minimum contain the following elements:

  • Clear goals and a realistic strategy for using telecommunications and information technology to improve education or library services;
  • A professional development strategy to ensure that members of the staff know how to use these new technologies to improve education or library services;
  • A needs assessment of the telecommunication services, hardware, software, and other services that will be needed to improve education or library services; and
  • 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.
  • Prior to FY2011, tech plans must also include a sufficient budget to acquire and support the non-discounted elements of the plan (e.g., hardware, software, professional development, and other services).

Review and Approval

For additional information on approvals for specific entity types, refer to the following:

USAC may review your technology plan for compliance with program rules and certifications.

Read the list of tech plan questions to consider to help you prepare your technology plan.

Next Step

Once you have written your technology plan, if one is required, you can go on to Step 2, Competitive Bidding, to learn how to file an FCC Form 470 and run an open and fair competitive bidding process.