This webinar will focus on library specific questions and issues concerning the E-rate program. We will cover all of the basics of E-rate and the nuts and bolts questions concerning what information you need to gather to be prepared to submit your Form 470 and planning ahead for the Form 471 funding application, the next form in the E-rate cycle after the Form 470. This webinar is hosted by SD E-rate Coordinator, Debra Kriete.
Questions? Contact Shawn Behrends, SDSL Data Coordinator, 605-773-3131, option 6
South Dakota has an E-rate coordinator who provides outreach and training to SD libraries and schools.
Contact the E-rate coordinator to subscribe to SD E-rate listserv messages about training opportunities, filing advice, and deadlines.
Debra M. Kriete, Esq.
South Dakota E-rate Coordinator
firstname.lastname@example.org / 888-232-0241 (toll free)
The following article from Debra Kriete was posted in SDSL's Cornerstone newsletter, September 2018.
How to Cost-Effectively Improve Your Internet Connectivity
Libraries continue to be a vital community anchor to provide Internet access to everyone. Especially for patrons who do not have Internet at home, the library may be the only place they can go to access the Internet. Online connectivity has become more essential to apply for jobs, learn new skills, and to participate meaningfully in the global economy. More and more people rely on the Internet access available from their libraries.
There is a nationally administered technology program that is designed specifically for libraries and schools to ensure they have sufficient broadband Internet to meet their community needs. Known as the E-rate program, libraries qualify for funding to help pay for high-speed Internet service and Wi-Fi network equipment to ensure robust Internet access is available and can accommodate multiple simultaneous users. To participate in E-rate libraries must have adopted an Internet Safety Policy and must have an Internet filtering mechanism in place.
E-rate operates as a discount program and provides funding for broadband services and network equipment. The funding amount is based on a discount percentage of the total annual cost of qualifying service and equipment. Discounts range from 20 percent to 90 percent and are set based on the local school district’s percentage of students who qualify for the National School Lunch Program. Libraries qualify for the E-rate discount percentage of their local school district in which their library or their main branch is located.
Competitive bidding of goods and services is a prerequisite of the E-rate program, in order to establish the most cost-effective price. In the case of Internet service, the price is then multiplied by the E-rate discount percentage to quantify the available funding. Equipment purchases are subject to a budget. The budget program for equipment helps to ensure there is sufficient funding available to all interested applicants. Historically there were more requests than available funding and not all needs could be met.
The equipment budget is based on each library’s total building square footage multiplied by $2.39. Libraries located in urban areas with an IMLS Locale Code of 11, 12 or 21 (Aberdeen, Rapid City, and Sioux Falls) qualify for a square foot amount of $5.20. There is a minimum budget amount of $9,582.23 for very small libraries. Although competitive bidding is required, the base price of the equipment is limited to the E-rate budgeted amount. If a library’s bidding results in the price of network equipment that exceeds their E-rate budget, the E-rate discount funding will be based on the budget amount - not the higher actual cost of the equipment.
The equipment budget program was established for the year beginning July 1, 2015 and was authorized for five years, through the year beginning July 1, 2019. Libraries may use their entire E-rate equipment budget to make purchases in a single year. There is no requirement to spread purchases across five years.
The Federal Communications Commission, the oversight agency for the E-rate program, is considering whether to extend the program past its current expiration date. At this point, however, it is not known what lies ahead. Libraries therefore are encouraged to apply for E-rate funding of equipment purchases for the upcoming year beginning July 1, 2019 to be able to benefit from the funding. If the program reverts to the former rules, the funding for equipment would be available first to the highest discount applicants. This may result in all funds being depleted prior to being able to fund all applicants’ requests.
The E-rate cycle starts in earnest in the fall. First, the competitive bidding form, FCC Form 470, must be submitted. Then after waiting a minimum of 28 days to accept bids, proposals must be scored, and the most cost-effective bid must be selected. Next, a contract must be prepared and signed. The contract may be contingent on the receipt of E-rate funding approval. This clause ensures that libraries that do not have the money in their budget to pay for the full cost of the equipment are protected against the possibility of being unable to receive their E-rate funding. Libraries are encouraged to submit their Form 470 applications by Thanksgiving so that they have adequate time to review proposals, sign contracts, and prepare the next form, FCC Form 471.
The FCC Form 471 must be submitted no later than March 20, 2019 for the upcoming funding year beginning July 1, 2019. This program form quantifies the amount of requested funding. Each equipment component and service must be itemized separately so that the E-rate program administrator can review the application to ensure compliance with program rules.
Libraries interested in learning more about E-rate, including the filtering requirements, are encouraged to contact the South Dakota E-rate Coordinator, Debra Kriete at email@example.com. Debra is a resource to assist the state’s schools and libraries with their E-rate forms and program compliance.
The following Category 2 information as posted on the SD public libraries listserv, November 2017:
One (keystone of the E-rate program) relates to the purchase and installation of network equipment inside school and library buildings to ensure there is sufficient broadband and Internet connectivity. These components are called “Internal Connections” and qualify for funding as part of the “Category 2” funding stream.
The Category 2 funding is allocated based on a pre-set budget amount of funding that covers a five year period. Most libraries qualify for $2.35 x square footage of your library. There is a floor amount for small libraries (less than 4005 square feet) and small schools (62 or fewer students), which is $9,412.80. Urbanized libraries – those with IMLS locale codes 11, 12, or 21 – qualify for $5.12 per square foot.
Your E-rate discount is then applied to the E-rate “prediscount” Category 2 budget amount to determine the total amount of Category 2 E-rate funding you could request. Your requests must be based on signed contracts that are executed after completing the E-rate competitive bidding process via FCC Form 470.
The attached Excel file (see below) contains the square footage of each South Dakota library, based on a report from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the estimated E-rate prediscount budget for Category 2 funding.
If you are a new library that has not applied for E-rate in prior years please email me so I can help you set up your E-rate portal.
Thank you, Debra
Debra M. Kriete, Esq.
South Dakota E-rate Coordinator
888 232 0241 Toll Free #
717 256 0098 Fax