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
- DeLilah Collins is the Colorado State E-Rate coordinator. You can always count on her to point you in the right direction. You can reach her at 303-866-6850 or email Collins_D@cde.state.co.us
- Colorado Department of Education E-Rate Resources
- E-rate updates from the FCC
- American Library Association
- Benton Foundation
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.”