High speed, low cost, fiber-based internet access is now available to Yavapai County Public and Charter Schools and Public Libraries.
The Yavapai County Education Technology Consortium (YCETC)—made up of school districts, charter schools, and libraries, facilitated by Tim Carter, Yavapai County School Superintendent, and led by Stan Goligoski, Executive Director of Yavapai County Education Service Agency (YCESA) and Frank Vander Horst, the e-Rate Manager for the agency—have taken advantage of a program offered by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) and supplemented by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC). This program is called e-Rate and it will pay for up to 100% of the construction costs to bring high speed fiber to rural schools and libraries. These construction costs can run as high as $50,000 per mile. For Yavapai County, this construction cost was almost $2 million.
Arizona Corporation Commissioner Andy Tobin and Arizona State Director of e-Rate Milan Eaton were vital to making this funding opportunity available to our schools and libraries. The full cost of the original funding for the infrastructure is provided by federal and state funds, as leveraged by this shared project from local e-Rate dollars.
The FCC has recommendations for bandwidth for schools and libraries. Prior to this initiative, none of the schools and libraries in Yavapai County met the FCC recommendations due to:
- Availability of the service – it just was not available.
- Cost of the service – they just could not afford it.
In fact, many of the schools and libraries in Yavapai County currently have only 1.5% of the FCC recommended bandwidth. Now, from Crown King to Bagdad and Ash Fork to Hillside, all schools and libraries in Yavapai County have the opportunity to obtain the internet speeds they need to educate their students and serve their patrons.
In addition to creating the opportunity for all schools and libraries to obtain high speed internet access, the cost of the service has been greatly reduced. Working with Cable One, the new county-wide internet service provider, the cost for internet access for schools and libraries in Yavapai County has been reduced, on average, by almost 90%. Every school or library in the county will save at least 50% on their internet costs, some as much as 98%.