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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.
If 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.
The California Teleconnect Fund (CTF) provides qualified organizations a 25% 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 more specifics).
CTF provides funding for basic access services. The CTF eligible services that BetterWorld Telecom provides include:
(The 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.
In 2006, 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 CTF application. If your organization is a school or library and does not have an E-rate discount, then you will need to apply the current statewide average (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 25% 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 Ineligible Form.
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.
In order to apply for CTF, your nonprofit or library must qualify under one of the following categories:
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!
Salem Kimble is the manager of social
media development at TechSoup's donor partner, BetterWorld Telecom.
This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License.