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This is a guest blog post from Salem Kimble, the manager of social
media development at TechSoup's donor partner, BetterWorld Telecom.
you work for a nonprofit or library in California, your organization might be eligible to reduce your
telecom expenses by half. Thousands of eligible organizations in
California are not aware of the California Teleconnect Fund (CTF) and
are missing out on this great benefit.
TechSoup donor partner BetterWorld Telecom is one of only a select few telecom providers certified and approved to provide services eligible for
reimbursement through the CTF program. BetterWorld Telecom's donation program with
TechSoup provides access to discounted telecommunications service. When
combined with the California Teleconnect Fund discount, this offering
creates an amazing opportunity for eligible nonprofits.
The California Public Utilities Committee site covering
the CTF makes for a daunting read, so we've done our best here to give
an informative overview: describe what the CTF is, which organizations
are eligible, and how to apply.
California Teleconnect Fund (CTF) provides qualified organizations a 50%
discount on select telecommunications and Internet access services in
California. TechSoup Donation Program Partner, BetterWorld Telecom, is one of only a
handful of telecom providers certified and approved to provide services eligible
for reimbursement through the CTF program.
Qualified organizations include California schools,
community colleges, libraries, government and district-owned and operated
hospitals and health clinics, and community-based organizations. (See below for
funding for basic access services. The CTF eligible services that BetterWorld
Telecom provides include:
BetterWorld Donation Program with TechSoup includes one of these CTF eligible
services, VoIP Telecommunication Services, Access to Discounted rates, and Donated Phones).
CTF was established in 1996 by the CPUC to support
universal service and is funded by California State Budget through an end-user
surcharge on intrastate communications services. The CTF discount is dependent
upon the appropriation of funds within the State Budget and although there are
no current indications it would occur, the discount could be discontinued if funding
became exhausted or the program itself was suspended.
a bill was passed in connection with CTF to avoid a double discount by
requiring all organizations applying for CTF that are eligible for the E-rate discount
(libraries and schools) to provide the E-rate discount percentage that they
already receive, or an average value if they don't already have a discount.
If your organization
is receiving an E-rate discount, you should put this percentage on your
application. If your organization is a school or library and does
an E-rate discount, then you will need to apply the current statewide
(currently 72% through 6/30/12) before calculating the CTF discount.
(for example, for a $100 a 72% E-rate discount leaves $28, so the 50% CTFF discount is then
applied to that remaining $28).
If your organization
is using services that are not eligible for E-rate, but are eligible for
the California Teleconnect Fund, you can submit a CTF Eligible vs E-rate
If you want your school or library to
learn more about E-rate discounts, there are ongoing training sessions on the
topic on the K12 High Speed Network and application instructions on the US Deptartment of Education site.
to apply for CTF, your nonprofit or library must qualify under one of the following
That's it! Although there are some forms involved and verification materials
necessary to receive the CTF discount, the benefits of signing up if you are
eligible could really make a bottom line difference for your organization. Check out the California Teleconnect Fund page on our website or learn more about BetterWorld Telecom's donation programs to access discounted telecommunications services for your organization!