What is E-Rate?

The universal service Schools and Libraries Program, commonly known as the E-rate Program, helps ensure that schools and libraries can obtain high-speed Internet access and telecommunications at affordable rates. E-Rate is a Federal program that offers significant funding for broadband Internet costs and internal connections (network equipment) for schools and libraries.  In our region, all libraries are entitled to either a 60, 70, or 80% discount, depending on the number of children eligible for for free and reduced lunches under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).

What is Required to Receive Funding Through E-Rate?

Accessing E-rate can require some persistence and planning, but can be rewarded by thousands of dollars in cost reductions or rebates. Each library should consider whether the director, staff, a board member or volunteer is available to spend time on the application process, and whether they wish to pursue funding through E-rate for an upgrade to library broadband, a new firewall/router, or better access to wifi for patrons.

Because support for telephone service has been phased out, all E-rate fundable items and services now require compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), which requires a filtering measure to be put in place, along with a few other requirements. Libraries will need to decide if they are willing to comply with the CIPA requirements.

CEFLS Can Help

If you are interested in applying, both our Finance Manager and the Head of Automation and Technical Services have experience with the process and can assist you.  Just give us a call or send us an email with your questions.

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