A Dialogue on E-rate Pricing Data

As part of the E-rate Modernization Order adopted last year, the particular Commission decided to increase pricing openness in the E-rate program by making details publicly available regarding services plus equipment purchased by schools plus libraries, including line-item costs. To that end, the Commission directed work of the Managing Director and USAC to make such information available via open APIs and bulk data files posted on USAC’s website: https://slweb.universalservice.org/form471publicdatatool/app/#/

Assisting schools and libraries obtain the best possible pricing is important for several reasons. Initial, funding for E-rate comes from ratepayers, and we seek to ensure that the public is getting the best value for its money. Second, E-rate does not foot the entire bill for E-rate supported services; schools and libraries share the cost of their E-rate services, which means taxpayers across the nation have an interest in making sure their schools and libraries don’t spend more than necessary. Third, the funding is really a shared resource — every college or library that secures a much better price helps stretch the E-rate budget to serve even more schools and libraries with better, faster service. Finally, by federal law, all telecommunications carriers are to deliver services to schools and libraries “at rates less than the amounts charged for similar services to other parties” (that’s all customers, not only other schools and libraries). As a tool to help deliver on this Congressional objective, however , providing the data to help make comparisons even just between plus among schools and libraries is a great starting point.

Although the power of better details is clear, we recognize that many, if not most schools and libraries, won’t have the data analytics tools necessary to evaluate pricing. And so, with this blog, all of us begin today a public conversation on the pricing data.

In a series of brief blogs, this one and others to come, we will publish the results of queries all of us run on the publicly available pricing data. We will run queries on questions that interest the three people, or other members of the FCC’s E-rate team, or our co-workers at USAC. We will also release data results that others may provide to us in order to further this public dialogue. And finally, we will accept proposals for data queries from the large E-rate community. Even though we can’t promise that we may have sufficient resources to perform every information search, we expect that the questions themselves and the sharing of information will enhance our overall objective of pricing transparency. We’d inquire only that questions for a information query be posed as specifically as possible.

And now, for the results of our first query. The median monthly repeating pricing by state or place for 1 Gbps transport — the bulk transmission of data between a school district’s locations — as well as 1 Gbps access to the Internet.

State/Territory Count of Financing Requests* Median Price
Transport Only Internet Only
National 5688 $1, 210. 70 $3, 320. 00
Alaska 13 $1, 422. 22 $730. 00
Alabama 103 $1, 445. fifty nine $1, 369. 50
United states Samoa 1 $10, 000. 00
Arizona 63 $1, 928. 21 $4, 923. 00
Arkansas 110 $1, 489. 00 $4, 980. 00
California 826 $1, 428. sixty-five $1, 355. 45
Colorado 54 $1, 464. 35 $3, 633. 01
Connecticut 84 $1, 040. 15 $1, 050. 00
Delaware 1 $1, 855. 00
District of Columbia 6 $2, eight hundred. 00 $5, 000. 00
Florida 121 $1, 761. 00 $3, 801. 75
Georgia 133 $1, 200. 00 $4, 500. 00
Guam one $775. 00
Hawaii 1 $6, 000. 00
Idaho 24 $1, 750. 00 $2, 695. 00
Illinois 255 $1, 103. 57 $3, 431. 22
Indiana 197 $1, 337. 90 $11, 417. 14
Iowa 44 $737. 38 $2, 831. 42
Kansas 64 $1, 165. 44 $3, 691. 00
Kentucky 112 $1, 062. 88 $797. 94
Louisiana 78 $1, 387. eighty-five $7, 079. seventy five
Maine 4 $759. 17
Maryland 14 $885. 50 $7, 355. 00
Massachusetts 31 $2, 592. 00 $2, 824. 50
Michigan 108 $998. 55 $2, 535. 53
Minnesota 105 $724. 75 $1, 447. 00
Mississippi 121 $891. 07 $3, 725. 00
Missouri 174 $1, 773. 66 $3, 897. 70
Montana 17 $799. 47 $4, 148. 50
Nebraska 76 $1, 818. 50
Nevada 7 $308. 90 $4, 756. 80
New Hampshire 5 $600. 00 $1, 500. 00
Nj-new jersey 255 $1, 467. 20 $3, 400. 00
New Mexico 19 $2, 820. 64 $7, 548. 70
New York 318 $919. 60 $1, 700. 70
North Carolina 93 $1, 479. 69 $2, 612. 56
North Dakota 7 $322. thirty four $400. 00
Northern Mariana Islands 1 $468. 75
Ohio 248 $867. 17 $2, 044. 16
Oklahoma 135 $1, 512. 56 $4, 209. forty eight
Or 91 $1, 051. 60 $1, 100. 00
Pennsylvania 248 $1, 200. 00 $2, 919. 00
Rhode Island almost eight $3, 000. 00 $3, 000. 00
Sc 9 $1, 626. 86 $11, 997. 48
South Dakota 4 $1, 750. 00
Tennessee 133 $2, 365. 16 $2, 500. 00
Texas 536 $870. 26 $4, 250. 00
Utah 124 $1, 189. 66 $3, 416. 94
Vermont 71 $200. 00 $1, 868. 98
Virgin Islands 2 $4, 316. 00 $39, 235. 00
Virginia 98 $1, 390. 00 $6, 269. 13
Washington 116 $906. 72 $2, 960. 61
West Virginia 50 $1, 581. 63 $1, 646. 00
Wisconsin 166 $1, 023. thirty four $1, 220. 84
Wy 1 $1, 850. 63

Notes:
*Number of funding demands for Transport Only and Internet Only (that meet the criteria outlined below).
Includes connections with down load speeds of 1000 and 1024 Mbps.
Includes connections with product type of: Dark Fiber, Ethernet,, Lit Fiber, OC-3, OC-12, OC-N, and Standalone Internet Access.

Source:
FY15 E-rate Type 471 Data
Extracted through Pentaho on November 12, 2015

Two points of note about these figures. First, as these are statewide median prices in a program where the suppliers have a legal obligation to offer their best prices, one might have expected to observe greater uniformity of pricing. The fact that there is such variation across the country speaks either to the quality of the information that USAC receives from schools and libraries, or the pricing available to schools and libraries, or each. The significant variability in the information on pricing warrants further evaluation and discussion.

Second, in order to meet the FCC’s goals with the current budget, pricing is going to have to get better. Assume the program spends, as budgeted, $1 billion on internal connections within schools and libraries, and also funds required construction in rural areas. This program has less than $1, 750 each month to spend on average for broadband online connectivity to each school or collection, and for every $1, 750 which is spent by the program, participating schools and libraries pay $750. So , to achieve the goals of broadband online connectivity under the E-rate budget, average month-to-month transport and internet pricing combined is going to have to be lower than $2, five hundred. We’re not there yet, but data sharing is a good place to start.


No Responses to “A Dialogue on E-rate Pricing Data”




By submitting a comment here you grant a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate comments will be removed at admin's discretion.