August 5, 2020 Newsletter

News from the ITA

August 5, 2020


ITA Virtual Annual Meeting & Industry Update - September 10, 2020 

Please save the date for the upcoming ITA Annual Meeting & Industry Update.
We will be sharing the agenda and opening registration soon!




Department of Innovation & Technology (DoIT) K-12 Broadband Initiative


Last year, Governor Pritzker launched the Connect Illinois Broadband Grant Program and the Illinois K-12 Broadband Initiative. The K-12 Broadband Initiative was introduced as a means to provide broadband service at no cost to local K-12 school districts. Public K-12 school districts that sign a letter of agency to join the Illinois Century Network (ICN) e-rate consortium are eligible to receive all required broadband services at no charge to the local school district.  Broadband service includes the internet service from the ICN POP as well as the last mile and WAN services.  The broadband service from the ICN POP and the non-e-rate subsidized charges for last mile and WAN services is paid for by an annual appropriation in the state budget. Service providers continue to be relied upon for the last mile and WAN services just as they are today. However, the state of Illinois - not the school district, will be the customer of record for companies providing those last mile and WAN services.  The state purchases the last mile and WAN circuit(s) from the provider and the non-e-rate subsidized balance of the charges are paid to the provider by the state.


With the new round of 2021 procurements for the K-12 Broadband Initiative expected to be released very soon, the ITA - working with the Illinois Rural Broadband Association - put together the following information about the process for submitting bids. Please feel free to contact Rick Holzmacher at the Illinois Rural Broadband Association, [email protected], or Randy Nehrt at the ITA, [email protected], with any questions.


2020 Procurements


The K-12 Broadband Initiative was launched in August 2019 and the invitation for bid for the first-round of 2020 procurements were released in October 2019.  The bids for 2020 procurements were due in late December 2019 and awards were made and contracts executed in the first quarter of this year. In July of 2020, the ICN ceased to be an e-rate provider and instead will now serve as an administrator in assisting school districts that are members of the consortium with their e-rate submissions as well as administer the last mile and WAN procurements.  The 2020 circuits solicitated, awarded and not awarded can be viewed in the links provided below.


2020 Circuits Solicited


2020 Circuits Awarded


2020 Circuits Not Awarded


2021 Procurements

Beginning in April of this year the consortium began collecting letters of agency from school districts who wish to become new members of the consortium for the 2021 funding year.  In May, the ICN began collecting circuit data from school districts that wish to place a circuit into the consortium solicitation for procurement.  The ICN said it planned to post the 2021 circuit solicitations and consortium procurements in July. The solicitation has not been posted yet but could be any day.


It is important to note, that not all school districts have joined the consortium and school districts that have joined the consortium are not obligated to do anything and have the option to continue with their own e-rate solicitations and procurements. School districts are also not obligated to place a circuit into the consortium procurement.


In order for a provider to bid on consortium procurements, the provider must be registered with BidBuy and or the Illinois Procurement Gateway (IPG) in order to be an authorized vendor with the State of Illinois. A provider can bid and receive an award by being registered with BidBuy only. However, the state procurement office highly recommends providers register with the IPG at the onset, because if the provider is ultimately awarded a contract they will have to fill out the exact same paperwork and disclosures post award.


Here is a link to the Illinois Pathway to Procurement:

Member companies are encouraged to check the list of school districts below that have signed letters of agency with the consortium to see if any of your local school districts appear. If your school district(s) joined the consortium it does not necessarily mean that they will place a circuit into the 2021 consortium procurement, but the list allows you to stay on top of who may place a circuit out for procurement. If you are interested in providing the last mile or WAN services to the district, register with BidBuy and/or IPG in order to bid on the procurement. Please note that only circuits with a contract term expiring prior to June 30, 2022 can be included in the upcoming procurement. When the 2021 circuit solicitations and consortium procurements are released, we will send out an update to the membership.

Link to Consortium Member School Districts

Links to Additional Resources:

05/14/20 Presentation 2021 K-12 Initiative

06/11/20 Presentation LOA and Circuit info