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E-rate and State Funding for Libraries: Grants for Fiber

Fiber Connections, internet, equipment upgrades

Fiber to the Library Grant Program



The Connecticut State Library is providing competitive grants to principal public libraries for high-speed fiber connections to the Connecticut Education Network (CEN). Funding for these grants has been provided by an authorization of $3.6 million in state bond funds.

Between September 26, 2016, and December 31, 2019, the State Library Board approved 74 grants to libraries totaling $1,696,865.21. Read about the positive impact of this project on the libraries:



  • Only principal public libraries may apply.
  • Libraries must be building end-to-end connectivity to a CEN-supported site on the network. Libraries that want to 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).

Eligible Grant Expenses

Libraries may apply for grant funds to pay for non-E-rated costs for one year of Fiber Operations & Maintenance and the 20-year Dark Fiber IRU Lease, plus Network Equipment and Non-Recurring Costs for Installation of Equipment and Provisioning of Fiber, as quoted to each library by the fiber vendor. Libraries may also request grant funds to pay for IT assistance to complete the connection and to purchase additional equipment necessary to accommodate and light the fiber, such as a rack, cabling, or uninterruptible power supply.

Grant funds cannot be used for new switches, firewalls, or wifi components.

Required Deliverables

Successful applicants must submit the following deliverable at the end of the grant period:

  • Project Evaluation/Expenditure Report, using form provided by the State Library

Application Procedure

Complete the one-page grant application, available in the box to the right titled "Documents." In the lines for "Amount requested," subtract the amount you requested from the E-rate program from the amount on your library's quote, and enter the result. If requesting grant funds for additional equipment and/or IT assistance, provide quotes or other documentation of cost. (See additional instructions at the bottom of this page for more information on completing the Amount Requested section.)

Example using made up numbers and a 40% E-rate discount:


20-year Dark Fiber IRU Lease


$23,400 (quote) - $9,360 (E-rate) = $14,040

2. Network Equipment $8,600 $8,600 (quote) - $0 (no E-rate) = $8,600


Fiber Operations & Maintenance


$3,900 (quote) - $1,560 (E-rate) = $2,340


Non-Recurring Costs for Installation of Equipment…


$2,150 (quote) - $0 (no E-rate) = $2,150


Additional Equipment (cabling, rack)


example: rack plus shipping, 24' cable


IT Assistance


example: 8 hours @ $75/hr


Total Amount Requested



Applications must have a handwritten, not typed, signature.

Applications should be sent in pdf format to Christine.Gauvreau at Applications will be accepted on a rolling deadline and are due by 4:00 pm fourteen days prior to the next State Library Board meeting.

Key Dates


  • March 9, 4:00 pm – grant application due for March 2022 SLB approval
  • May 4, 4:00 pm – grant application due for May 2022 SLB approval

Award Procedure

The State Library Board will vote on grant applications. CSL will award grants not to exceed the Total Amount Requested on the grant application. Libraries must sign a grant contract with the state library before funds can be disbursed. The term of the contract will be 18 months, and contracts may be extended upon request of the grantee and approval by the State Library. Funds will be disbursed in one lump sum. Grantees must comply with the requirements of Public Act 15-95 regarding Municipal Plans of Conservation and Development.

A Note about Liens

If your library is an association library (independent nonprofit) that owns its own land and/or building, the state library will place a lien on the property for 10 years in the amount of the grant. This is the same process the state library follows for placing liens on libraries that receive construction grants. Contact Christine Gauvreau at for more information.

*This requirement does not apply to municipal libraries or to association libraries where the land is owned by the town.*

Additional instuctions for completing the Amount Requested section

Example from E-rate Form 471

This is a snippet from one of the state library’s 471s, so you can see where to look for the numbers.

1. On your Form 471, look for the sections titled “FRN Calculation.” The number in the box labeled “Total Pre-Discount Charges” should match one of the numbers on your quote, either for dark fiber IRU, fiber maintenance & operation, or network equipment. The number in the box labeled “Funding Commitment Request” is what you’re asking E-rate to pay.

2. When you fill out your grant application to the state library, subtract the number in “Funding Commitment Request” from the number in “Total Pre-Discount Charges.” The result is what you should request from the state library.

In the example attached, our dark fiber IRU cost is $69,900, and we’re asking E-rate to pay for $62,910.
69,900 – 62,910 = 6,990
So I would put $6,990 on my state grant application in the line for dark fiber IRU.

3. Go back to steps 1 and 2, and follow the same process for the fiber maintenance and operations fee.

4. Most libraries didn’t ask E-rate to pay for any costs related to network equipment, so they will enter the full amount from their quote in the state grant application, probably either $8,600 or $7,000.


CT E-rate Coordinator

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Christine Gauvreau
786 South Main St.
Middletown, CT 06457

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