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FCC Releases Machine Readable Data on E-rate Program

by: Michael Byrne, Geographic Information Officer and Greg Elin, Chief Data Officer

October 19, 2012 - 01:52 PM

We at the FCC know the importance of open data to policy making and government transparency. The FCC continues to modernize and streamline how it collects, uses, and disseminates data as smart policies depend on quality data, which should be accessible to the public in meaningful ways using modern digital tools.

Today we’re announcing newly available E-rate program data and the beginning of a process to provide easier access to even more data on the E-rate program.  Working with the staff of the Universal Service Administration Corporation(USAC), the administrator of the E-rate fund, we are releasing the most recent complete year of E-rate records available in machine readable format.  This data, for E-rate funding year 2010, is available for download and analysis here.

The FCC's E-rate program provides up to $2.3 billion a year to schools and libraries to help ensure they have access to affordable broadband and telecommunications services. When E-rate was created by Congress in 1996, only 14% of our nation’s schools were connected to the Internet.  Today over 97% have high-speed Internet access.

This data includes detailed information on what broadband and other communications services and IT equipment schools requested—100K unique service requests and 1.4 million records describing recipient schools and libraries, what categories of service they are actually purchasing, and how much they paid, and how much E-Rate program has dispersed.

We are eager to see what others can do with this data, and to understand what additional data we need to gather and publish to help answer important questions about the impact of the E-rate program.

This is a first step and we will continue to work with USAC on ways to provide streamlined access to full datasets with complete data dictionaries across multiple funding years. With the release of this data set, we seek to engage with the education stakeholder community to collaborate on ways to provide easier access to current E-rate program data and on ways to represent E-rate program impact at a macro level.  

Updated: October 19, 2012 - 02:55 PM
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