envelope-ofacebook2linkedinsearchtriangle-downTwitter_Logo_White-on-Bluetwitter

Forms 470 & 471 Terminology Glossary

One of the barriers to entry for the E-rate program is the difficulty in understanding the technical terminology required to file for data services. Complicating this further is the fact that USAC uses certain terms on their Forms and in their guidance materials that are not commonly used in the Information Technology or Telecommunications industries at large. What follows are tables referencing specific sections of the Form 470 and Form 471 where these terms are used, with definitions and details about the types of services that the terms cover.

Please note that many vendors use brand names for their various data transmission offerings, such as AT&T’s “GigaMAN,” which is a fiber optic-based service. You may need to connect with your service provider to clarify the type of service you are receiving.

Form 470 terminology

The main thing to know about the Form 470 is that the service requests only allow you to choose a service based on bandwidth/quantity and the physical connection type. It does not get specific enough for you to select a specific type of network service like metro-Ethernet or MPLS.

Form 470 Dropdown

Simple Definition

Examples or common industry names

Leased Lit Fiber (with or without Internet Access)

A fully managed fiber service where the provider owns, operates, and repairs the fiber network and equipment at each customer site.

with Internet Access refers to an Internet access connection delivered over leased lit fiber transport

Many service providers will have a brand name for Internet Access delivered over leased lit fiber. Most call this service Dedicated Internet Access (DIA) but there are some exceptions:

  • AT&T: Managed Internet Access (MIS)
  • Frontier: Ethernet Internet Access

without Internet Access refers to a private transport circuit between two customer sites, a point to point circuit, or any type of wide area network service delivered over leased lit fiber that does not include Internet access as part of the cost

Many service providers do not use the term leased lit fiber because there are many different types of network services that can be delivered over leased lit fiber. Customers outside of the E-rate world will generally ask a provider for a more specific service such as Ethernet, MPLS, or wavelength services. Additionally, many providers have their own brand names for these specific technologies (for example, Zayo calls their MPLS solution IP-VPN).

Internet Access and Transport Bundled (Non-Fiber)

An Internet access connection delivered over any type of physical transport except fiber.

  • DSL
  • Cable modem
  • Satellite
  • T1
  • T3
  • Fixed wireless/microwave

Transport Only – No ISP Service Included (Non-Fiber)

a private transport circuit between two customer sites, a point to point circuit, or any type of wide area network service delivered over any type of physical transport except fiber

  • T1
  • T3
  • Fixed wireless/microwave

Internet Access: ISP Service Only (No Transport Circuit included)

Internet access bandwidth only without a physical transport circuit. If your Internet provider has brought a physical line into your building, then this is not what you have.

Industry terms for this also include:

  • Internet port service
  • Internet access

Leased Dark Fiber and Leased Lit Fiber

See “Leased lit fiber without Internet access” above

Leased dark fiber is a service where a customer leases a specific number of unused fiber strands from a provider for the purposes of creating a private transport circuit between two or more of their sites. The service provider owns and maintains the fiber strands while the customer is responsible for supplying and operating equipment to make a functional connection.

This terminology is generally the same as what providers call their leased dark fiber service.

Self-Provisioned Network (Applicant Owned and Operated Network) and Services Provided Over Third-Party Networks

Self-provisioned network refers to an applicant paying a provider to build them a network that the applicant then owns, maintains, and operates.

The providers who construct and maintain broadband networks will likely be outside plant construction companies as opposed to traditional Internet or telecommunications service providers.

Services over provided third-party networks refers to a technology neutral, fully managed service over infrastructure that a service provider owns.

This service includes any examples from both Leased Lit Fiber without Internet Access and Transport Only – No ISP Service Included (Non-Fiber)

Network Equipment

Any equipment necessary by the applicant to make a leased dark fiber or self-provisioned network operational.

Network switches or routers with any connectors, optics, and cables. Equipment can be any model/manufacturer.

Maintenance & Operations

Maintenance refers to a service where a provider will maintain and repair any fiber strands or fixed wireless in a self-provisioned network.

Another industry term for this service is outside plant (OSP) maintenance.

Operations refers to a service where a provider will operate and maintain the network equipment used to place a leased dark fiber or self-provisioned network into service.

Industry terms for this service also include:

  • Managed service
  • Managed network services

Cellular Data Plan/Air Card Service

LTE, 4G or 3G, mobile broadband

This should only be used if this is going to be the only connectivity to a location and the purpose is for Internet access (not voice).

Other

Any service that does not fall under any of the previous dropdown.

This should very rarely be used as all common network services are covered under the previous dropdowns.

Form 471 Terminology

There are two drop-down menu sections when creating a Funding Request for Data Transmission Services. The following two tables cover these menus separately.

Filing a Category 1 Form 471: “Purpose” of Data Transmission Funding Request

Purpose (Drop-down Menu on 471)

Simple Definition

Internet access service that includes a connection from any applicant site directly to the Internet Service Provider

Internet Access (IA) circuit – the connection from your WAN hub out to the Internet/to your Internet Service Provider (ISP). This is a bundled service that includes both the Internet service and the circuit over which that service is delivered.

Data Connection between two or more sites entirely within the applicant’s network

Wide Area Network (WAN) circuits – data connections between your school sites and/or Non-Instructional Facilities. May be procured separately from your IA circuit.

Data connection(s) for an applicant’s hub site to an Internet Service Provider or state/regional network where Internet access service is billed separately

An IA circuit with NO ISP charges included.  Example: district pays for a circuit to connect to a regional or state network POP but the actual Internet service is free or non-erateable. If you file for this you must procure Internet service separately, this only includes the circuit cost.

Internet access service with no circuit (data circuit to ISP state/regional network is billed separately)

The companion to the above – the cost of Internet service with NO TRANSPORT CIRCUIT included. If you are filing for this you should also be filing for an IA circuit or have procured one outside of E-rate

Filing a Category 1 Form 471: “Service Option” of Data Transmission Funding Request

Category 1 Service Option Name

Simple Definition

Detailed Information

Fiber

DS1, DS3, DS4

Same as T1 in Copper below. A T1 circuit has a maximum bandwidth of 1.544 Mbps. Still commonly used for voice service as channelized PRI lines.  Do not use this for data..

Dark Fiber (no Special Construction)

Dark Fiber procured via a traditional contract. This is the leasing of existing dark fiber – i.e. fiber that is not currently in use – to be ‘lit’ or used exclusively by the applicant, either via leased or purchased equipment.

Dark Fiber IRU (no Special Construction)

Dark Fiber procured via an Indefeasible Rights of Use (IRU) agreement

OC1, 3, 12, 24, 48, 192, 256, 768, 

OC = “Optical Carrier.” These are transmission rates for fiber optic service.  OC1 = 50 Mbps; OC3=155 Mbps; OC12=622Mbps; OC24=1.2Gbps; OC48=2.5Gbps; OC192=10Gbps ; OC 256=13 Gbps; OC 768=38mbps

Switched Multimegabit Data Service

1990s era fiber technology with a bandwidth range of 1.5Mbps – 44 Mbps.  This is an antiquated protocol that should not be used today..

OC-N (TDM Fiber)

OCx or OC-n, where the "x" or "n" represents a multiplier of the basic OC-1 transmission rate, which is 51.84 Mbps. See the “OC1” entry above.

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)

A basic “shared loop” connection like the one many Americans have at home.  This is NOT dedicated service and should be avoided.  Typical DSL bandwidth delivered via fiber maxes out at 1 Gbps, but each user on the ‘loop’ shares this 1 Gbps so actual throughput speeds are much lower per user

Ethernet

Ethernet over fiber.  Bandwidths can range from 1 Mbps to 100 Gbps. This option has an ‘open’ field for the bandwidth speed so is a good choice if you are unsure of your OC rate.

MPLS

‘Multiprotocol Label Switching’ – a data protocol instead of circuit type.  This is a service sold as a ‘virtual private network’ whereby the district’s data is moved over a shared network instead of having dedicated IA or WAN circuits.

Copper

ATM

Asynchronous Transfer Mode.  A “virtual circuit”  protocol that could be transmitted over various circuit types. This is an antiquated protocol that should not be used today.

ISDN-BRI

primarily for voice use

Cable Modem

Internet delivered via a coaxial cable modem such as many Americans have at home. This is not dedicated bandwidth and is asymmetrical, i.e. the speed of uploading data to the network is much slower than the download speed. Should be avoided if a dedicated, symmetrical service is available.

T1, 3, 4, 5:

1960’s era technology same as DS under fiber. A T1 circuit has a maximum bandwidth of 1.544 Mbps. Still commonly used for voice service as channelized PRI lines.  Do not use this for data unless literally no other options are available.

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)

See the same listing under fiber, above. Copper-based DSL has the same issues as fiber-based DSL, with the additional challenges of lost bandwidth over distance.

Ethernet

Ethernet over copper.  Bandwidths can range from 1 Mbps to 1 Gbps.  Often cheaper than fiber, but bandwidth suffers the further you are from the Service Provider’s Point of Presence (POP)/hub.

Fractional T1

A shared T1 circuit.  Primary use is for voice services. Seriously, don’t use this for data transmission.

Frame Relay

A “virtual circuit” protocol that could be transmitted over various circuit types. This is an antiquated protocol that should not be used today.

Switched Multimegabit Data Service

1990s era technology with a bandwidth range of 1.5Mbps – 44 Mbps.  You should not be using this.

Wireless

Microwave

Also known as ‘fixed wireless’ service.  This is the delivery of Internet access or WAN connectivity via tight-beam microwave radios. Current affordable speeds max out at 1 Gbps. Service can be disrupted by weather or terrain, but can be an affordable, scalable alternative to fiber in remote areas.

Satellite Service

Internet from space! Receiving Internet access via geosynchronous satellites. Slow and expensive compared to fiber or microwave, but can sometimes be the only viable option in extremely remote areas (Alaska, northern Montana)

Data plan for portable device

A  data plan for a laptop or other This is only eligible for E-rate discount if it can be demonstrated that no other cost-effective solution is available at the school’s location. Should only be considered for remote locations with very small student populations.

Wireless data service

Other: Circuit/connection types not covered by above 3 categories

Broadband Over Power Lines

The delivery of data over commercial power lines. Ostensibly has a max bandwidth of 7 Mbps, but is not considered a good option for schools.

Radio Loop

Aka Basic exchange radio telecommunication services. Typically used as a voice service delivery system when physical lines are not feasible. Should not be used for data services.

Other

Any service or protocol not included under the above services, should only be used in extremely rare circumstances.

Miscellaneous: Additional costs associated with any of the above categories

Maintenance and Technical Support

The costs associated with the maintaining of any of the above services

Installation, Activation and Initial Configuration

The costs associated with the installation, activation and configuration of any of the above services

Taxes and USF Fees

Regular taxes and Universal Service Fund cost recovery fees.