While the business world has welcomed cloud migration with open arms (and generous budgets), many K-12 school districts find themselves unable to support the latest cloud learning and administrative applications with their antiquated equipment and legacy communication services. With the conclusion of the FCC’s phase down of E-Rate support for voice services, more than ever, schools must maximize their return on every dollar spent to update their communications infrastructure and meet the increasing demands for cloud-based learning environments.
Playing catch up
With fresh eyes on this component of their IT needs, many schools and libraries are transitioning from legacy services like POTS (plain old telephone service), Centrex or PRI lines to robust, versatile unified communications as a service (UCaaS) solutions that provide all core voice functions as well as enable them to realize additional benefits for their unique environments.
School communication system essentials
With E-Rate no longer supporting voice services and equipment, schools and libraries are free to make buying decisions that best fit their needs – and timelines – rather than adhering to the strict bidding structure and schedule of the E-Rate program.
With that freedom, however, comes the added responsibility to ‘study up’ on the various options to determine which new communications platform best serves their needs today—as well as providing flexibility for future changes. Several features should ensure that their service excels in the following key areas:
Move to the front of the class
While the elimination of voice funding from the E-Rate program has created financial hardships for many districts, it also presents an opportunity for reevaluation of the existing communications infrastructure— which is often severely outdated. Making the move from legacy services and equipment to UCaaS systems can help districts realize budgetary efficiencies and maximize ROI while gaining robust features and practical benefits for learning and library environments.
Jennifer Head is the SLED vertical marketing manager at Windstream Enterprise. She is an E-Rate subject matter expert with a decade of experience, and additional experience with USAC’s Rural Healthcare (RHC) Program. She has previously held positions in Marketing and Sales Operations with Windstream Enterprise and Norlight Telecommunications, as well as Instructional Design at Shoe Carnival. Jennifer holds a Bachelors of Science in English from the University of Southern Indiana.
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