map of US showing counties with above and below-average rates of home internet connectivity

Take Advantage of E-Rate Funding

The FCC adopted the E-rate Modernization Order [pdf] on July 11, 2014, to expand broadband capacity for schools and libraries. To take advantage of this new phase of the E-rate program, you have to apply. I won’t lie to you, the application process is lengthy, but with a few key resources and some assistance, you can get the broadband your library deserves.

USAC’S E-rate Tools

The United Service Administrative Company (USAC) is an independent, not-for-profit corporation designated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as the administrator of universal service, including the E-rate program for schools and libraries.

  • Trainings and Outreach — USAC offers webinars (live and archived) for schools and libraries looking to apply for E-rate funding. There’s also a weekly newsletter about the Schools and Libraries Program.
  • Reference Area — This page features links to specific topics that are commonly searched for in the Schools and Libraries Program section of the website.
  • E-rate Productivity Center — This is the account and application management portal for the Schools and Libraries Program. The USAC offers a range of resources — from a glossary to applicant user guides — to help you through the application process.

A One-Stop Shops for All Things E-rate

E-Rate Central covers E-rate news, training, resources, and application tips. E-Rate Central also offers consulting services for applicants, which it describes as an accounting-like service to libraries or schools.

Funds for Learning is another E-rate information site with free resources as well as E-rate consulting services and training.

WebJunction’s E-rate Webinar

WebJunction has so many great learning resources and webinars on a variety of topics. Recently, they did a webinar on the basics of the E-rate program with an overview of the USAC’s E-rate Productivity Center. The event has passed, but you can watch the archive for free.

Other Resources and Information

Note:

The map at the top is from a White House infographic on the digital divide in the US, published July 15, 2015, titled “Here’s What the Digital Divide Looks Like in the United States.”

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