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E-rate Funding for Libraries: Internet Service Consortium

Federal funding for telephone and internet access

Connecticut Libraries Fiber Consortium

In November 2017, the statewide buying consortium led by the CT State Library issued an RFP (called a Form 470) through the E-rate program for the purchase of internet service for the period July 2018-June 2019.

This page is written for libraries that choose to contract for internet services under this RFP. Internet service purchased under the RFP is eligible for E-rate discounts, if the library files an E-rate Form 471 and is CIPA compliant.

Libraries are under no obligation to order these services and may contract with any vendor they choose for their internet service.

For more information and E-rate, CIPA, and filtering (including free filtering software from CEN), visit the CIPA and Filters page.

If you have any questions, please contact Maria Bernier, the state library's E-rate Coordinator, at maria.bernier@ct.gov or 860-704-2204.

Documents for member libraries

RFP documents, FY2018

RFP documents, FY2016

This document constitutes the complete RFP (Form 470) that was posted by the Connecticut Libraries Fiber Consortium on June 10, 2016 (E-rate application # 160046528):

What to do and When

What you need to do first:

  1. Contact Maria Bernier to let her know you're interested: maria.bernier@ct.gov, 860-704-2204
  2. Sign and send in the Letter of Agency if you haven't already (use Word doc in box titled "Documents for member libraries" to left).
  3. Work on documenting your CIPA compliance. For more information, read the CIPA and Filters page.
  4. EPC - USAC's online application portal for E-rate
    • View the recorded webinar on entering Basic Information and Entity Information from USAC
    • If you do not have an EPC username and password, contact USAC's Client Service Bureau at (888) 203-8100 on weekdays between 8 AM and 8 PM. Tell the operator that you are an applicant, you don't know your entity number (unless you do!), and you need to become the account administrator.
    • Sign in to EPC (https://portal.usac.org/suite/) and update the library's profile and contact information, including FCC registration number (find yours or register for a new number), square footage, library sub-type, school district in which main branch is located, latitude and longitude, and urban/rural status.
    • Check your discount rate. If there's a problem with your discount rate, contact Maria Bernier ASAP.
    • Answer multiple-choice Connectivity Questions under "Related Actions" menu - actual (not maximum) upload and download speeds (can be tested through a site such as speedtest.net), connection type, wifi quality, and barriers to creating a robust internal network.
  5. Wait for information from Maria Bernier about selected internet vendor (this info will be sent in January).

Contracting for services and filing Form 471

Contract matters (do this by the E-rate filing window deadline):

  1. In January, contact the internet vendor selected by library to request a contract.
  2. EPC
    • Between January and March, download or print a copy of the "Instructions for Form 471 for ISP" (located at the bottom of this box and in the box titled "Documents for member libraries" in the top left column of this page), and view the first six minutes of the video on Form 471 Certification.
    • By 11:59 pm on the filing window deadline, file Form 471 in EPC (set aside 20-30 minutes for this step)
      • See dates for drop-in filing assistance below.
      • Bring with you or have handy:
        • EPC username and password
        • estimate of any related expenses for new computers or software you expect to purchase in the next FY

Drop-in dates for assistance with filing Form 471

  • MLSC, 786 South Main St, Middletown:
    • TBA
  • And by appointment: contact Maria at 860-704-2204 or maria.bernier@ct.gov.

Waiting for funding approval

  • Monitor EPC account weekly for notifications, especially questions from Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) reviewers. [Advice: Once you receive a PIA notice, immediately request a one-week extension of the timeline to respond.]
  • Respond to any requests for more information within 15 calendar days.
  • Wait for a Funding Commitment Decision Letter (FCDL). When you receive an email from USAC telling you that the FCDL is available, follow instructions in the email to view the notification and check your Funding Status and Committed Amount. If your project is funded, proceed to the next steps. If your project is denied, contact Maria Bernier immediately for assistance with contesting the decision.

Your next step is to file a Form 486 in EPC. The link is found on your Landing Page in the top right corner of the page.This is the form on which you’ll indicate the status of your library’s CIPA compliance.

The vendor will send you discounted bills and will file the necessary paperwork to get reimbursed by E-rate for the remainder.

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CT E-rate Coordinator

Maria Bernier's picture
Maria Bernier
Contact:
Middletown Library Service Center
786 South Main St.
Middletown, CT 06457
860-704-2204

E-rate Help from USAC

***To communicate with a real person about the E-rate Program, call the Client Service Bureau at (888) 203-8100 on weekdays between 8 AM and 8 PM.***

USAC offers several different kinds of assistance and training, including an Online Learning Library, weekly News Briefs, and assistance from the Client Service Bureau by phone or email.

The Online Learning Library contains short videos and longer recorded webinars on various topics related to the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC), forms, eligible services, Category Two budgets, and discount calculations.

You can follow the File Along With Me blog or subscribe to weekly News Brief emails and read past briefs offering timely information and tips to help you through the application process.

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