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E-rate and State Funding for Libraries: Internal Connections

Fiber Connections, internet, equipment upgrades

Fiber to the Library - Internal Connections Grant Program

Leverage your fiber-based internet connection to the fullest!

Libraries have a greater need than ever before to provide more virtual programming and to help their community’s effort overcome digital inequity.  In response to the crisis, the CT State Library, in conjunction with CEN and their partner NOVUS Insight, has developed a new category of grant funding under the umbrella of the Fiber to the Library Grant program. It is called “Fiber to the Libraries—Internal Connections” or FTTL-CI.

This category will provide sequential awards for (1) network assessments and (2) internal local area network upgrades to help improve the performance of the internal network connections and  fully leverage their CEN internet connection.

How will this grant process work?

First Step: Libraries will apply for a grant for a standardized assessment of their local area network infrastructure, inclusive of the underlying systems to support a well performing network.  Awardees will collaborate with CEN and their partner Novus Insight to complete this step.

Second Step: Libraries whose standardized assessment confirms that their connectivity should be improved, and whose connectivity needs have been precisely defined by the same assessment, can then apply for a second grant that would cover the costs of equipment, installation, testing of newly installed systems, “as-built” documentation, and turnover to production for library IT staff.  Grant awards may be in part of in full.

Eligible Equipment and Installation: Network equipment may include switches, routers, wireless access points/controller systems.  Structured cabling and infrastructure may include upgrades to power distribution units (PDU or ‘power strip’), Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS/Battery Backup), racks, targeted wiring upgrades to Cat6 and associated patch panels (to wireless access points for example), faceplates, jacks, raceways, etc. The rewiring of an entire building is not eligible.

Note:  Self installation of equipment and material is an option for libraries that have the means to do so, though labor for self-installation is not covered under the grant program.  If libraries choose to self-install, they will need to produce an installation project plan to do so, as well as schedule a post-installation audit to verify the installation and remediation of issues found in the original assessment.   

When can a library apply for the grant for a standardized assessment?

The application window opens on December 1, 2021 and closes February 21, 2022.  For more information, contact Chris Gauvreau, christine.gauvreau@ct.gov, or 860-704-2224.  If you or your IT department have technical questions, Chris can connect IT staff with CEN.

Follow the Progress of Your Assessment and Installation

Once your assessment or installation grant award has been granted by the CT State Library Board, you will queue up for the work to be scheduled by sign up on this CEN-NOVUS platform:  Fiber to the Library - Internal Connections. You will then be able to follow the progress of the work and show progress to your IT support throughout the process. 

 

 

 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  Does contracting for an assessment obligate us to work with CEN-NOVUS on new equipment installation?

A:  Your library is not obligated to go forward and apply for a network upgrade. 

Q: If we are awarded a network upgrade grant after the assessment phase, can my IT department install the equipment themselves?

A:  Your IT department may choose to install the new equipment themselves.  An audit and sign-off of the results of the installation by the CEN-NOVUS team is required to insure the proper expenditure of state funds.

Q: What if my IT department doesn't think that the brand and model of the equipment recommended by CEN-NOVUS meets their network standards?

A: Your IT department should make the case to the assessment team for the brand and model they believe is better suited to their network and accommodations will be made if at all possible.  If an accommodation is not reached, the contract for the network upgrade can be voided.

 

Eligible Libraries

  • Only principal public libraries may apply.
  • Libraries must have built end-to-end connectivity to a CEN-supported site on the network. Libraries that connect to the PSDN network via town hall or other municipal site are not eligible to apply.
  • For municipal libraries, any municipality that has not adopted a Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD) in the last 10 years as required under CGS Section 8-23(a) must include a Notice of Expired POCD letter with its application form and request for a waiver from the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management (OPM).

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