Congress authorized the E-rate program as part of the 1996 Telecommunication Act. The FCC created the program to increase access to advanced telecommunications and information services for schools and libraries. Eligible participants include public and most non-profit K-12 schools as well as all public and many private libraries. All program participants must carry out a competitive bidding process to select the most cost-effective companies to provide the goods and/or services requested. Discounts for support depend on the level of poverty and the urban/rural status of the population served and range from 20 percent to 90 percent of the costs of eligible services.
The SHLB Coalition has consistently supported reforms to the E-rate program that shift the focus to high-capacity broadband connections. Several studies document that schools and libraries do not have the affordable, high-capacity broadband connections they need to ensure that students develop technological skills and library patrons can obtain access to essential Internet-based services. We support greater funding for the E-rate program, an increased focus on capital investment, emphasis on affordable rates, increased use of consortia, and giving schools and libraries more options for their broadband services.
SHLB Documents on E-rate Reform 2017-Current
April 9, 2018
This letter concerns the problematic and inconsistent guidance concerning the drop-down menu and the FY 2018 approach for requesting competitive bids for various Internet access service options.
January 26, 2018
This letter discusses SHLB Members' experience with the processing of fiber special construction requests and offers seven specific recommendations to improve the processing of these complex applications.
November 8, 2017
October 23, 2017
January 27, 2017
SHLB E-rate Blogs