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E-rate Funding for Libraries: Internet Service Consortium

Federal funding for telephone and internet access

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 christine.gauvreau@ct.gov or 860-704-2224.

Documents for member libraries

RFP documents, FY2018

What to do and When

What you need to do first:

  1. Contact Maria Bernier to let her know you're interested: christine.gauvreau@ct.gov, 860-704-2224
  2. Sign and send in the Letter of Agency (use Word doc in box titled "Documents for member libraries" to left) by October 15, 2018.
  3. Work on documenting your CIPA compliance. For more information, read the CIPA and Filters page.
  4. Learn about EPC - USAC's online application portal for E-rate
    • Watch videos from USAC on how to use EPC.
    • 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 by January 15, 2019, 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 Christine Gauvreau ASAP.
  5. Wait for information from Maria Bernier about selected internet vendor (this info will be sent in December).

Contracting for services and filing Form 471 - bring your laptop!

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

  1. In December or January, contact the internet vendor selected by library to request a contract.
  2. EPC
    • Between January 16 and March 27, 2019, 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 March 27, 2019, 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

  • Middletown Library Service Center, 786 South Main St, Middletown 06457
    • Thursday, January 24, 8:30-4:00
    • Wednesday, January 30, 11:00-4:00
    • Wednesday, February 20, 8:30-4:00
    • Thursday, March 7, 11:30-4:00
    • Tuesday, March 12, 11:30-4:00
  • And by appointment: contact Maria at 860-704-2204 or christine.gauvreau@ct.gov or schedule an appointment online

Waiting for funding approval

  • Monitor email for notifications from USAC, especially questions from reviewers. [Advice: Once you receive a notice about reviewer questions, immediately request a one-week extension of the timeline to respond.]
  • Respond to any requests for more information within 15 calendar days. Contact Christine Gauvreau for help, and forward screenshots of the questions to her.
  • Wait for a Funding Commitment Decision Letter (FCDL). When you receive an email from USAC telling you that the FCDL is available, check your Funding Status and Committed Amount. If your project is funded, proceed to the next steps. If your project is denied, contact Christine Gauvreau  immediately for assistance with contesting the decision.

After July 1, 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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E-rate Help Sessions

Drop-in dates for assistance with filing Form 471

[2019 help sessions have all been completed. Dates for 2020 to be scheduled later.]

Bring with you or have handy:

  1. A laptop to access wifi
  2. EPC username and password
  3. copy of your signed contract (pdf)
  4. copy of your quote and any other information the vendor provided you (pdf)
  5. estimate of any related expenses for new computers or software you expect to purchase in the next FY

Annual Timeline

By Oct. 15, send Letter of Agency to Christine Gauvreau  if you want a discount on monthly internet service fees (CIPA compliance required).

Oct. 1 - Jan. 7: Update your library profile in EPC, the E-rate application portal.

Dec. - Feb.: Renew internet service agreement with provider, based on outcome of consortium's bid evaluation process.

Jan. 10-March 20: File E-rate Form 471 to request funding.

July: File E-rate Form 486 to indicate that your service has started this funding year.

CT E-rate Coordinator

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

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 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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