E-Rate for Public Libraries

E-Rate is a program administered by the the Universal Service Administrative Company under the direction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

E-rate allows schools and libraries to receive discounts on telecommunications, internet access and related services. This funding allows schools and libraries to keep pace with constantly evolving technology.

Application Window

The Funding Year 2021 (July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022) application filing window is closed.

Emergency Connectivity Fund

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 includes $7.17 billion for the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) program to be administered by the Federal Communications Commission. While the ECF program is not the same as the federal E-rate program, it will leverage some existing E-rate forms and processes to expedite implementation. The application window for the ECF program is expected to open in mid- to late June and will be open 45 days. Information about the ECF will be provided to the public library community in Arkansas as it becomes available.

ECF Information for Libraries

Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)

All libraries that receive E-Rate discounts for Internet Access, Internal Connections, Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections or Managed Internal Broadband Services must be compliant with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). Computers purchased with LSTA funds must also be CIPA compliant. In Arkansas, a library that does not receive E-Rate or LSTA funds for computers is not required to filter.

To be CIPA compliant, a library must:

  • Filter visual images of child pornography, obscene material and images that are harmful to minors (for use on computers accessed by minors)
  • Have an Internet Safety Policy
  • Hold at least one meeting open to the public where the filter and internet safety policy are discussed. A board meeting open to the public is an example of a public meeting. Save meeting minutes and public notice announcing the meeting agenda. For information on open meetings and the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act, please visit the Arkansas Attorney General’s website.

Resources

For more information about the program, contact: