In the traditional calendar, July marks the height of summer in many minds, signifying a time for taking beach trips, firing up the barbecue or turning the AC back on full blast. In the digital transformation calendar, July represents a whole lot more — especially for those in education. This month marks the beginning of the E-Rate funding year, when organizations across the country begin to apply for crucial services and equipment that will propel their administrators and students to new digital heights.
Of course, thinking a year ahead about what your school might need can seem like a daunting task — after all, who can know the future? Nevertheless, it’s clear that blackboards, overhead projectors and even those 10-pound textbooks have quickly become out of date, and students and teachers alike now depend on next-gen, technology-driven opportunities to succeed. So, this make-or-break moment for many in the educational sphere begins now.
Here’s what you need to know.
E-Rate’s Open Season Basics
Preparing for E-Rate’s open season can bring up a mountain of questions and concerns — but it can also be the best possible time to formulate strategic growth initiatives that pave the way for a thriving learning environment. This process of formulating a plan and crafting an application begins with understanding how educational technology has changed and what solutions are available to — and right for — your institution.
To start, let’s think about the basic needs that every school environment now depends on: fast internet, robust and high-capacity connectivity and secure networking. As schools use more applications to help complete administrative tasks, leverage more online resources for students, promote distance education where needed or even incorporate more safety measures, enhanced network foundations become more vital. An institution’s underlying connectivity determines the level of security, functionality and quality that its academic experiences can offer to students and staff both inside and outside the classroom.
So, what solutions are best for building those robust foundations? Well, there are many different ways to secure a bright digital future, including Ethernet-based options, DIA solutions and beyond. Ultimately, fiber broadband presents a great option for a host of goals and use cases. Fiber-based connectivity means that the network is resilient, high-speed and reliable (quite a perk in such a mission-critical environment). Ethernet and DIA both offer additional security benefits, as DIA is a dedicated (not shared) connection, and Ethernet’s physical links make it harder for bad actors to gain access to student or admin data.
There are so many ways to make the network work for educational goals, which can seem like both a blessing and a curse. E-Rate offers access to a plethora of digital opportunities, but building a solution that puts the power into your hands comes down to having expert support and insight on your side.
That’s where we can help.
Innovation Within Reach
There is perhaps no better way of ensuring a successful E-Rate project than partnering with the right expert. At Horizon, we’ve made the success of educational institutions our business for a long time. We’re serious about building unique, customized solutions (and delivering the best possible results), because we’re dedicated to the communities we serve above all — and we have the expertise to prove it.
As an E-Rate-authorized service provider, we’re proud to equip our education customers with an approach to digital transformation that is ideally suited for (and practiced in) addressing the unique challenges that face educational institutions, including K-12 school network design and solutions. We are focused on requirements for point-to-point and point-to-multipoint connectivity, as well as the need for dedicated IP addresses to help manage network efficiency and speed. We ensure that your bandwidth can grow as needed so your applications are never providing lackluster results, we keep your connections reliable and secure to ensure private data is protected — and a whole lot more. In fact, we’ve helped universities future-proof their networking, assisted edtech specialists as they connect upwards of 60,000 students to new digital opportunities and beyond.
So, as July kicks off E-Rate season and opens up the chance to offer students and administrators the digital futures they depend on, there’s no better time to start getting your affairs in order. Learn more about Horizon’s solutions for education here or contact a Horizon representative for a customized solution for your organization.