Broadband for Montana Schools
House Bill 390 was passed in the 2017 Legislative Session and included an amendment to 20-9-534, MCA that directs $1 million in each year of the biennium to the Montana Department of Commerce ($2 million total) for funding to schools to use as a match for FCC E-rate program funds. The Broadband in Montana Schools Program will enable schools to upgrade their broadband, boosting access to high-speed internet and providing students with more digital learning tools. The Broadband for Montana Schools Program matching funds are available for all Montana K-12 schools, including elementary schools, high schools, K-12 school districts, and consortiums of K-12 schools, as those entities are defined in Title 20, Chapter 6, MCA. Applications will be accepted on a continuous basis until beginning August 1, 2017 and until May 1, 2019. Click here to see the DOC’s webpage, and contact them at DOCBroadband@mt.gov or call 406-841-2770 if you have any questions about the Broadband for Montana Schools Program.
New Hope Technology Foundation consultant, John Hughes can help our districts process their e-rate applications. New Hope is a MASBO Exhibitor Member. New Hope was founded in 2004 to provide strategic technology funding assistance to K-12 school districts. The company’s client base has grown from five clients in 2004 to over two hundred in 2017, including schools and libraries in 23 separate states. They were recently awarded a contract by the Montana Department of Commerce whereby they will reimburse their consulting fees. This allows New Hope to offer our services to Montana schools for free.
New Hope is a full service E-Rate consultant offering assistance with application filing, discount rate determination, audits, appeals and all other facets of the application process. It is their goal to assume as much of the application burden as is possible. They always take a strong proactive stance for our clients in regards to E-Rate policy and rules changes. This includes actively lobbying both Congress and the FCC on behalf of our client base.
In addition to E-Rate, New Hope provides clients with procurement assistance and has a grant writer on staff. Additional information on New Hope may be found at: www.newhopetech.net