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E-rate Funding for Libraries: Overview

Federal funding for telephone and internet access

What is E-rate?

The Universal Service Schools and Libraries Program, commonly known as E-rate, helps ensure that schools and libraries can obtain telecommunications and Internet access at affordable rates. The program, which is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), located in Washington, DC, provides discounts on these services and some hardware. E-rate is a national program funded through FCC fees collected on your phone, cable TV, and internet bills.

E-rate Overview

All of the information provided on these pages is related to E-rate services for libraries. Public schools are also eligible for E-rate funding, but they are not addressed on this site.

Libraries must meet the statutory definition of library or library consortium found in the 1996 Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and must be eligible for assistance from a state library administrative agency under that Act.

A library includes:

  • A public library
  • A public elementary school or secondary school library
  • An academic library
  • A research library, which for the purposes of this definition means a library that:
    • makes publicly available library services and material suitable for scholarly research and not otherwise available to the public; and
    • is not an integral part of an institution of higher education
  • A private library, but only if the state in which such private library is located determines that the library should be considered a library for purposes of this definition

A library's eligibility for support also depends on its funding as an independent entity. Only libraries whose budgets are completely separate from any schools (including, but not limited to, elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities) are eligible to receive discounted services.

For questions about the E-rate Program, contact the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) via Submit a Question or call the Client Service Bureau at (888) 203-8100 on weekdays between 8 AM and 8 PM.

CT E-rate Coordinator

Maria Bernier
Middletown Library Service Center
786 South Main St.
Middletown, CT 06457

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