What is the California Teleconnect Fund (CTF)?
The California Teleconnect Fund is a “public purpose program” administered by the state Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). Until recently, this program provided financial support to qualifying nonprofit organizations in the form of discounts of 50% on voice and broadband carrier services. The program was conceived and designed to accelerate the adoption of broadband telecommunications technology by organizations and institutions that served California’s disadvantaged populations. It was an effort, in part, to ameliorate the “digital divide.”
In 2013, a comprehensive review of the program was initiated by the CPUC. Issues around organizations’ eligibility, the nature and extent of their programs, their annual revenue, and the services that received the discount were examined. During this review period, Alternative Technologies was actively engaged in proceedings, and advocated on behalf of nonprofits for the continuation of the Teleconnect Fund.
The CTF lives on!
As of July 1, 2019, a host of modifications to the program have been approved. Voice services are no longer eligible for discounts, which follows parallel changes to the federal E-rate program. There are restrictions on organization size, qualifying programs, and new procedures for applying and periodic eligibility review. The good news is that 50% discounts on broadband services will continue for organizations with revenues of less than $5 million.
The program continues to benefit qualifying organizations in important ways. By focusing discounts on internet circuits, organizations are incentivized to reevaluate the smartest way to provide voice services to their staff and clients. We can help with that. Alternative Technologies offers a cloud voice service that takes advantage of new technologies utilizing the internet. By adopting this VoIP technology, organizations can eliminate the expense of their old voice carrier services, and use the savings for faster, more reliable internet service.
On behalf of customers, Alternative Technologies finds and negotiates rates and terms with 3rd party carriers. We can advise your organization on how to get the CTF discount applied.
In some instances, Alternative Technologies offers internet service directly to a customer and applies the CTF discount. When that service is available, pricing is as follows:
* Alternative Technologies provides DSL and Advanced DSL service to customers. We continue to explore other eligible services that would benefit customers eligible under the CTF program.
** Connection speeds can vary depending on infrastructure conditions and usage factors.
*** Pricing can vary depending on term length and cost of buildout.
Is your organization eligible for the CTF?
If your nonprofit has programs in the areas of health, education, or job training, then you should apply for the Teleconnect Fund. As long as your organization has less than $5 million in annual revenue, and provides services on-site directly to an underserved population in California, you have a good chance of qualifying.
The new CTF application will be available in Fall 2019 on the CPUC website’s CTF page. If you would like assistance in assessing your eligibility, or completing the application, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.