What is Category 1 and 2?
Eligible equipment and services are separated into two categories:
Category 1: Telecommunications and internet services delivered to building
- Broadband circuits, including fiber construction
- Internet service or access
- Voice services (which are being phased out)
Category 2: Network Infrastructure within a building
- Wireless controllers and access points
- Network services such as maintenance and management
Category 2 does not include servers (other than caching servers) or end-user devices such as laptops, tablets, or desktop computers.
There is no limit on the amount of Category 1 services that a district can apply for.
Schools can apply for a maximum of $150 per student in Category 2 expenses throughout the 5 year period beginning in FY 2015 and ending in FY 2019. The details are complicated. Sources of information include:
- USAC Category 2 page
- USAC Category Tool Budget Tool (Data through FY 2016 only)
- DPI Category 2 Webinars
- FCC 2020 Eligible services
It is critical that school districts use all of their available Category 2 funds before the end of FY 2019. Every district has significant ongoing network expenses that can be defrayed by Category 2 funding. It is the opinion of DPI that districts who do not use these funds are effectively turning down free money, and that school boards are well within their rights to request an explanation of why Category 2 funds have not been used.