Universal Service Discount Program for Libraries

E-rate is a federally created program to provide discounts to assist most schools and libraries with obtaining affordable telecommunications and Internet access. It was enacted by Congress under the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) created the Universal Service Administration as the mechanism for administering the program. Services eligible for E-rate discounts include telephone service, data circuit connections, Internet access and internal connections. Discounts, ranging from 20% to 90%, are based on an individual school's enrollment participation for the National School Lunch program. The discount percentage for a library is based on the weighted discount percentage for the school district in which the library is located.
The State Library of Iowa has created an e-rate consulting toolkit w/FAQs and resources to address some of the issues which libraries often mention in their reluctance to file. 
Called "Barriers", it responds to the common reasons libraries give for not participating and offers possible solutions to addressing these reasons.
Check it out and see if it offers you a compelling rational to participate after all!

Latest E-Rate News from USAC (Universal Service Administrative Company)


Representatives at the Client Service Bureau (CSB) are available to help you at 888-203-8100


Applicants can begin preparing now for the successful filing of their FY 2020 funding applications by taking the following steps:

  • Install Browser Updates: Google Chrome is the preferred browser for EPC, but no matter which browser you use, be sure the latest version is installed on your computer.
  • Establish Account and User Rights: If this is your first year participating in the E-rate program, call the USAC Client Service Bureau at 888-203-8100 to create your account in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC). If you already have an EPC account, log in and review, update and/or assign user rights for persons who will need access for FY 2020.
  • Proceed With Competitive Bidding:  You start the competitive bidding process by filing your FCC Form 470. Remember that you must wait 28 days after filing the FCC Form 470 before entering into an agreement and filing your application. Waiting for the filing window to open is not necessary. USAC's website at http://www.usac.org/sl/applicants/step01/default.aspx provides step-by-step instructions for completing the FCC Form 470 and conducting the competitive bid process.

Additional Assistance with Filing the FCC Form 470

USAC has posted a video series on how to file FCC Form 470 for FY2019, using a single FCC Form 470 as an example from the beginning to the end of the filing process. This video series is located in the Online Learning Library on the USAC website and includes the following:

New EPC Videos Posted in the Online Learning Library

Five new video tutorials have been posted to help new applicants become familiar with EPC, the account and application management portal for the E-rate Program. Program participants use this tool to manage program processes, receive notifications and to contact customer service. These videos are located in the Online Learning Library on the USAC website and provide instruction on the following subjects:

As a reminder, some of these topics are covered during the EPC 101 for Applicants webinar. This webinar is recommended for applicants that are new to the E-rate Program. See the Webinars page.

For step-by-step information on filing – including screenshots of each step in the process – USAC has also posted an FCC Form 470 User Guide. For a list with descriptions of the service type options in Category One, you can refer to the VERY DETAILED Category One Drop-down Table.  This table provides guidance on which drop-down option(s) to choose when filing Category One service requests on your FCC Form 470.

Note changes in the Category One drop-down options:

Voice Service has been phased out, and the drop-down for voice service will no longer appear.

Maintenance & Operations is now an item in the drop-down menu. In the FY2018 version of the form, Maintenance and Technical Support was a Yes/No question on the same web page


See the Eligible Services List for details on products and services that are eligible for E-rate discounts in FY2019. 

You can find additional program guidance documents in:


Here is the link to the NM NSLP (National School Lunch Program) numbers for the 2017-18 school year:   http://www.broadband4education.nm.gov/e-rate-1.aspx


Technology Plans and the E-Rate Program: A Primer for Libraries

** For FY2015 and forward, technology plans are not required, but are recommended.

The Children's Internet Protection Act and information about Filtering:


The Arizona State Library's E-Rate documentation at: http://www.lib.az.us/erate/

The Arkansas State Library's E-Rate information at: www.asl.lib.ar.us/landing-page/index/erate



For more information or questions on E-Rate, contact:
Patricia Moore, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.