8x8, Inc. (NASDAQ:EGHT), a provider of cloud communications and collaboration solutions, today announced that it is providing integrated business VoIP telephony, video, group paging and mobile services for Learn4Life’s rapidly growing network of public charter schools. These advanced services are being subsidized through the federal government’s E-rate program, which supports telecommunications modernization and upgrades at qualifying educational institutions.
Founded 13 years ago, Learn4Life began in Lancaster, California, as a new education resource for disadvantaged children who cannot attend traditional full-time schools. Typically these kids have dropped out—or are at risk for dropping out—because they must work to support their families, have experienced teen pregnancy, are in foster care, or lack transportation. Learn4Life addresses these barriers by giving each student a personal learning plan that allows them to do most of their schoolwork at home. Phone, Internet and videoconferencing services enable them to connect with teachers remotely.
Now with more than 70 sites in Southern California and plans to expand to Texas, Ohio and Northern California over the next two years, Learn4Life needed highly reliable unified communications that could support both its rapid expansion and its distance learning model. When the company’s previous VoIP provider could not deliver the required uptime or scalability, Learn4Life turned to cloud-based provider 8x8.
“We need a service provider who can keep up with us,” said Skip Hansen, senior vice president of Learn4Life. “Unless we can roll out reliable communications quickly, we have to delay the opening of new sites—and that’s not in line with our mission. Our goal isn’t just to teach kids; we’re trying to save their lives. Time to market is key for us.”Participation in the federal E-rate program was also part of Hansen’s selection criteria. He estimates that Learn4Life recoups 85–95% of its actual communication costs through the program, making 8x8’s participation in E-rate “essential” to his organization’s success and growth.