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E-rate Funding for Libraries: Fiber FAQs

Federal funding for telephone and internet access

FAQs

Why should I install fiber to the library? Read these impact statements from the libraries that have.

What is it?

We want to connect your library to the network via fiber instead of DSL or cable. This means faster internet and data speeds for your staff and patrons. The state library has received bond funding from the State of Connecticut to help pay for these new connections. We are also asking libraries to apply for E-rate funding to help pay for the project.

What does it cost?

The cost of the new fiber connection and network equipment will be covered by a combination of E-rate funds (a federal source) and state bond funds (via a grant from the state library), both of which you'll need to request by filling out forms. Your library will be responsible for paying ongoing fees to the fiber vendor for maintenance and internet service. If you want, you can also apply for an E-rate discount on both of those fees, though you would need to be CIPA compliant and filter in order to get the discount on internet service.

What am I committing to?

  • Signing the LOA does not commit you to anything. It just indicates interest in learning more.
  • Signing a contract with the vendor does not commit you to anything either, as the contract states that it's all contingent on funding being available from E-rate and the state bonds.
  • Filing an E-rate Form 471 does not commit you to anything. It means you're asking the E-rate program to help pay for part of the project if you decide to continue.
  • You're not committed to anything until you give the vendor the OK to proceed, which they'll request from you in writing.

When would the work happen?

Most likely sometime in winter/spring 2019 for Year 3 participants and winter/spring 2020 for Year 4 participants.

What do I have to do to participate?

  • Sign and submit a Letter of Agency to Maria Bernier.
  • Wait until the Year 4 vendor(s) is selected in December 2018.
  • Read the quote and draft contract that the vendor sends you.
  • Sign a contract with the vendor for this work.
  • File a Form 471 to request E-rate funding to cover part of the cost.
  • Submit a short grant application to the state library to request funding to cover the rest of the cost for special construction and network equipment, and file a final grant report when the project is done.
  • Give the vendor permission to proceed with the project, and pay their invoice using the grant funds from the state library.
  • File a Form 486 to confirm with E-rate that your project has begun. This form also allows the vendor to get reimbursed directly by E-rate.

How do I learn more?

More Answers

I need help with my Form 471!

Download the Word doc titled "Instructions for Form 471" at the top of this box, and/or contact Maria Bernier at maria.bernier@ct.gov or 860-704-2204.

Why do I have to do this Form 471 anyway???

The Form 471 is an application for funding from the federal E-rate program. If you receive E-rate funding to help pay for part of the project, usually between 40% and 80%, then we can stretch the state bond funds farther to cover more costs and more libraries. Once the fiber is installed, this form also helps you request funding to help pay for fiber maintenance each year.

Will they be digging up my property?

Most of the fiber will be strung up in the air on telephone poles, usually not dug in the ground through trenches. The final length from the nearest pole into the library may require an underground conduit.

How do I get a contract?

Contact the vendor that emailed your quote. They will send you a link to an online Docusign page where you will sign the contract. The system will then email you a link to download a copy of the signed contract.

Do I have to filter?

NO.

An April 2013 article in American Libraries provides helpful guidance on filtering and CIPA: "Filtering and the First Amendment," by Deborah Caldwell-Stone.

We're planning to build a new library soon. Should I install fiber now to the old building or wait for the new building?

It depends on the timetable of your construction project. Contact Maria Bernier to discuss your options: maria.bernier@ct.gov or 860-704-2204.

CT E-rate Coordinator

Christine Gauvreau's picture
Christine Gauvreau
Contact:
786 South Main St.
Middletown, CT 06457
860-702-2224

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