October 18, 2019


 DoIT Explains Changes to K-12 School Service & E-rate in Oct. 8 Webinar

The ITA scheduled a webinar with the Illinois Department of Innovation & Technology (DoIT) and the Illinois Century Network (ICN) for service providers interested in learning more about recent changes announced for K-12 public school service and E-rate participation. The webinar was held October 8 with nearly 100 service providers participating. A recording of the webinar, as well as the presentation slide deck, is available for those unable to join Oct. 8 and for further review by participants. 

The ICN is waiving service charges for all K-12 public schools and will provide traditional service and some new security services at no cost to schools that join the DoIT consortia. Thus far, nearly 350 school districts have joined the consortia - Circuit Information Received (as of 10/06/2019). Schools that have existing contracts with other service providers will have to fulfill those contracts before joining the DoIT consortia. 

The ICN will discontinue participating as a USAC E-rate Service Provider and no longer compete with the private sector for E-rate contracts. Instead, DoIT will act as an E-rate applicant on behalf of all the public K-12 schools in the consortia. DoIT says the ICN will provide backbone Internet service and the agency will rely on existing service providers for last mile connections and transport.

While DoIT is still working on the Form 470 RFPs for Internet access and supporting transport (last mile), their goal has been to issues the RFPs before the end of October. Therefore, it is important for providers interested in responding to the RFPs to register with the state as soon as possible to be made aware of the opportunity and to be able to submit bids. Based on school districts listed in the "circuit information received link" above, providers may also be able to start to their research now to be better prepared to respond.

I asked DoIT and the ICN to let me know when the RFP is being issued and we will send a notice out when that occurs. DoIT and ICN personnel working on this project have acknowledged the condensed timeline for everyone involved and reiterated that the success of the program depends on the participation of service providers. We will continue to get the information out to memebr companies as quickly as it is available.

The webinar and slide presentation includes information for service providers to register with the state to receive RFP notifications and to be eligible to bid on the RFPs. Service Providers interested in responding to the RFPs should register as soon as possible. It was highly recommended that service providers interested in responding to the RFPs register in both of the following two ways:

Illinois BidBuy

Illinois Procurement Gateway

Additional Resources:

Illinois Pathway to Procurement - This website provides helpful information about registering as a vendor and the Illinois procurement process.

USAC - In addition to being registered in BidBuy and the Illinois Procurement Gateway, companies may also monitor RFPs posted on the USAC E-rate website.

 Feel free to contact Randy Nehrt with questions or concerns.

Gigabit Annual Partner Spotlight - Mid-State Consultants, Inc.

So what’s new in Optic Fiber – a Brief Tech Review

Fiber Optic is still a buzz.

New developments in the glass itself, the cable construction and connectors are promising, but the glass we currently have is good to go.  Simple CWDM makes it possible to inexpensively add more signals on a single fiber.

Integrating transport electronics directly into IP routing/switching equipment, rather than via separate transport boxes helps to lower prices and increases functionality.

Adaptive links enable each optical link/path to automatically and continuously adjust to maximize the amount of bandwidth it can support. This can be a big deal especially for Data Center Interconnections (DCI).

10G PONs are now going to happen –while sharing the same fiber with old 2.4 Gbs GPON gear. 

Advanced Multipath gear gives some impressive capabilities; if you really need a lot of bandwidth just for a moment you can ‘borrow’ it.  Almost like the old-fashioned LAN bus architecture, but ten million times faster!

For 55 years, Mid-State Consultants Inc. continues to focus on providing essential engineering services to ensure a successful outcome of each project entrusted to us.

Contact Tom Schultz at (920) 872-2902 to learn more about our full turn-key services.


Illinois Telecommunications Association

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