Idaho Could Be On Its Own For School Broadband Costs Until 2016

Jan 14, 2015

Credit Sean MacEntee / Flickr Creative Commons

The state has outlined its timetable to rebid the Idaho Education Network broadband contract — and Idaho will likely have to go it alone on project funding at least until July 1, 2016.

The state Department of Administration won’t accept bids on the new contract until June, and that’s well past the deadline for the state (or school districts) to apply for federally administered “e-Rate” funds for 2015-16.

Here’s how the two timetables mesh:

  • The state has issued a Request for Information, or RFI, which is a precursor to the bidding process. “(The network is) asking interested parties to submit their perspectives regarding the continuation and growth of the state network,” according to a news release issued late Tuesday afternoon. The deadline on the RFI is Feb. 15.
  • In order to receive e-Rate dollars for 2015-16, the state, or school districts, must file paperwork on bids by March 26. That’s the deadline established by the Universal Service Administrative Company, the federal contractor that administers e-Rate dollars. Last week, state officials encouraged school districts to apply for e-Rate dollars on their own, although this means districts have to complete a competitive bidding process that will meet the March 26 deadline.
  • The state will release its Request for Proposals in June. This is when contractors can bid for the project.

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