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What is E-rate?

E-rate is a federal program that provides discounts to schools and libraries on Internet access and Internal Connections costs to make these services more affordable.

E-rate is the commonly used name for the Schools and Libraries Program of the Universal Service Fund (USF). The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), an independent not-for-profit designated by the FCC, administers the USF to distribute funds through the E-rate program for schools and libraries.

Who is eligible?

All legally established public libraries in Nebraska are eligible to apply for E-rate.

How much of a discount can my library receive?

Discounts range from 20% - 90%. The amount is based on: 1) the percentage of students eligible for the National School Lunch Program in the school district in which the library is located, and 2) the urban or rural location of the library, based on U.S. Census data.

What services are funded?

  • Internet Access - Broadband, Fiber, Wi-Fi

  • Internal Connections - wiring, routers, switches, and network equipment

  • Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections

Do I have to filter my library's computers to qualify for E-rate?

Yes, if you are applying for discounts for Internet Access, Internal Connections, and/or Basic Maintenance, you need to be in compliance with the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA). This requires that applicants have a 'technology protecion measure' installed on their computers that blocks or filters internet access.

What if my city or village pays the library's internet bills?

You can still apply for E-rate - just for the portion of the internet service that is used by the library.

What if I want to stay with my current internet service provider?

No problem. Your current service provider and contract is eligible.

What about funding for Telephone Services?

The E-rate program has changed to focus support on improving Broadband Internet Access to schools and libraries. In part to accomplish this, as of the 2019 Funding Year, Voice Services are no longer eligible for E-rate. This includes local, long distance, 800 number, and cellular voice phone service.

How do I apply?

Start the process in the Fall by filing online. See the Timeline for the entire Application Process.

I have more questions about E-rate. Who do I contact?

Christa Porter is the State E-rate Coordinator for Public Libraries in Nebraska. She can be reached at the Library Commission via email, or by calling 402-471-3107, or 800-307-2665.

For more information, contact Christa Porter.