Update: April 26 - DPI E-Rate Guidance

The following was posted this morning by the DPI...

To the E-rate community –

Tomorrow (Thursday, April 27) at 2:00 PM we will hold a call-in session on how to file your Form 471 for Internet access this year.  This call assumes you already have a BadgerNet broadband circuit and want to have AT&T MIS for Internet  access or WiscNet on BadgerNet for Internet access for the July 1, 2017, E-rate year. 

Call in at 1-877-820-7831, passcode 647831. 

In light of new information, we are zeroing in on two filing options for WiscNet and AT&T customers. These are option #2 (revised) and option #3 as described in the FAQ at https://dpi.wi.gov/sites/default/files/imce/erate/FAQ%20E-rate%20and%20Internet%20on%20BadgerNet%20V%201%204-14-17.pdf.

In brief:

Option #2, revised:  File two Funding Requests (FRNs):  The first listing WiscNet as the provider with a service start date of July 1 and end date of December 31, 2017.  The second listing AT&T as the provider with a service start date of July 1 and end date of June 30, 2018.  This is a REVISION to option #2 in the FAQ because both FRNs have overlapping service dates (July 1 – Dec 31.)  DPI staff  met with USAC management who have agreed to this option in which they will adjust the two FRN start and end dates once your cutover date is known.  (DPI, DOA, AT&T and WiscNet will work with USAC on this process.)

Option #3:  File a single funding request as described in the FAQ.

Our presentation on Thursday will go over these two options in detail.  By Thursday morning in the E-rate Learning Library we will post an updated PowerPoint presentation and detailed guidance on how to complete your FRNs.

Bill Herman
Bob Bocher

Update: April 17th and 19th - DPI E-Rate and Internet Options on BadgerNet Q&A

  • What's the difference between BCN and BadgerNet and where does WiscNet play? The old (past 7 years) contract and network was for BadgerNet Converged Network (BCN). Under the old contract, many chose WiscNet as their Internet Access Provider. The new (next 7 years) contract and network is for BadgerNet. Per the new BadgerNet contract, AT&T is designated the prime provider responsible for billing and E-Rate. AT&T will be providing two options for Internet Access that include AT&T MIS on BadgerNet and WiscNet on BadgerNet. AT&T will bill and provide E-Rate for both services.
  • AT&T will be cutting its BadgerNet customers from the old network to the new network between February 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017 per the BadgerNet contract. DPI UPDATE 4/19: "We learned yesterday afternoon that AT&T will be able to provide a tentative migration schedule for some schools by the middle of next week.  This will be valuable information and should give schools a better basis for choosing a filing option." 
  • Because it is unclear when schools will be moved from the old BCN to the new BadgerNet network and E-Rate funding cycles run July 1, 2017 through June 30th, 2018,  things get a bit complicated. See DPI's guidance on navigating E-Rate.
  • The PowerPoint, Frequently Asked Questions, and ways to submit questions to DPI during the call are available at https://dpi.wi.gov/erate/training. For a recording of Monday's session, call 1-888-203-1112, passcode 227780573.
  • The BadgerNet rate sheet for WiscNet on BadgerNet refers to "one-time fees." To clarify,  WiscNet on BadgerNet requires a one-time fee for a) new-to-WiscNet members,  and b) a very small number (less than 5) of existing WiscNet members interested in moving to 1 Gbps that currently do not have hardware hardware that will support 1 Gbps. These fees cover the one-time installation and activation of a WiscNet-managed device. Feel free to contact WiscNet at info@wiscnet.net if you have further questions about one-time fees.
  • DPI UPDATE 4/19: "before the end of next week we should be able to provide improved filing guidance.  We will offer a call-in session on next Thursday, April 27, at 2:00, to provide this new information.  We’ll send out dial-in information early next week."

Update: Friday, April 14th - WiscNet on BadgerNet

Getting a WiscNet on BadgerNet option in place was the first step. Understanding the E-Rate implications for schools and libraries when "transformation" (moving from the old BadgerNet Converged Network to the new BadgerNet network) on a yet-undetermined timeline in coordination with E-Rate, which has strictly-defined timeline and equally strict rules and processes, well, it's tricky. The DPI put a team of the nation's foremost E-Rate experts together over the past three weeks to provide guidance based on where things are today for Wisconsin's schools and libraries. This morning, they posted their guidance to schools and libraries. FAQ on E-Rate and Internet Options on BadgerNet along with an accompanying PowerPoint. The DPI will host two conference calls next week to present their guidance and take questions. Monday, April 17 at 1:30, and Wednesday, April 19 at 10:30. Call in at: 1-877-820-7831, passcode: 647831. We strongly recommend you participate in one or the other. The DPI has indicated that recordings will be made available.

WiscNet On BadgerNet

Finally: the announcement we all have been waiting for. WiscNet has reached an agreement whereby there will be a WiscNet on BadgerNet service for both our existing and new WiscNet members.

In short, if you use or choose BadgerNet, you can choose our WiscNet on BadgerNet service. Pricing will remain consistent with our identical WiscNet Network Access service. The same WiscNet staff you have grown to trust over the past 25+ years will continue to support WiscNet on BadgerNet, including WiscNet-provided equipment at your location, phone support, and coordinated assistance on service conversions from the old BadgerNet Converged Network to the new BadgerNet network.

E-rate quotes that include information about WiscNet on BadgerNet will come very soon from AT&T. Wait, what? Here's why. Per the BadgerNet agreement between the State of Wisconsin and AT&T, AT&T is responsible for all billing and E-Rate for BadgerNet, including WiscNet on BadgerNet. If you haven't received a quote by April 27th, please let Rob Roy (rr3914@att.com) or us know at info@wiscnet.net.

Bill Herman and Bob Bocher with the DPI are working on a FAQ about BadgerNet E-Rate issues and will host a webinars on Monday, April 17 at 1:30, and Wednesday, April 19 at 10:30. Call in at: 1-877-820-7831, passcode: 647831. The sessions will be identical, will be recorded, and will be linked from here. The DPI and WiscNet strongly recommend that you do not file Form 471 until you review the upcoming guidance from DPI. Questions? Contact Bill Herman at the DPI. william.herman@dpi.wi.gov.

We'll take questions at info@wiscnet.net. As we find patterns on answers we can help with, we'll post and/or point you to them below.

Thank you

Our sincere expression of thanks to all of you for your patience.

I've been hovering over the send button on this message each day over the past 10 weeks as new issues and details continue to unfold. I fully realize each ever-so-slight delay puts you – our members – closer to E-Rate deadlines. Nobody likes thinking about E-Rate any more than absolutely necessary, myself included.

Good people at the Wisconsin Department of Administration, TEACH, AT&T, and the Department of Public Instruction have worked hard for over three years to reach this point. On behalf of the entire WiscNet membership, I thank all of those involved from data gathering to advocacy to procurement and beyond.

Here at WiscNet World Headquarters we'll do are best to help you navigate complicated waters. This site will provide detailed information including answers to frequently asked questions and guidance as details arise.