E-rate and Emergency Connectivity Fund Programs

The E-rate program has been the most successful funding source for school and library broadband since its inception in 1996. As the digital landscape has evolved, so too has E-rate. The Federal Communications Commission’s reforms in 2014 enabled schools and libraries to obtain fiber connections more easily and augmented funding for internal connections, such as Wi-Fi equipment. In 2021, Congress built upon the foundation of E-rate by creating the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF), a temporary program that allows schools and libraries to extend high-quality broadband service to student, teacher, and library patron homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

For the E-rate program to thrive, it must continue adapting to changes in the marketplace. The additional reforms below could permit the E-rate and ECF programs to serve the greater community: 

  • Congress should provide more ECF funding as a long-term solution to the Homework Gap, or the difficulty students experience completing homework when they lack internet access at home.
  • The FCC should provide E-rate funding for cybersecurity. 
  • The FCC should waive the cost allocation rule, which would allow schools and libraries to share their E-rate built networks with surrounding homes and businesses.
  • The FCC should continue to streamline the E-rate application process.


Key Documents

May 2021
Establishing Emergency Connectivity Fund to Close the Homework Gap

December 2014
Modernizing the E-rate Program for Schools and Libraries

October 2014
A Model for Understanding the Cost to Connect Schools and Libraries with Fiber


July 2014
Modernizing the E-rate Program for Schools and Libraries



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Coalition E-rate Firewall Comments 

February 13, 2023 

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Request to waive and extend E-rate service delivery deadline for non-recurring services

August 10, 2022

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Ex parte to Commissioner Starks' Office regarding competitive bidding
July 14, 2022

SHLB met with the Office of FCC Commissioner Starks to reiterate our concerns about the proposal to federalize the E-rate competitive bidding process.


Download the Letter 


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Reply comments to the FCC regarding the competitive bidding NPRM
May 27, 2022

SHLB submitted reply comments that reiterated why a competitive bidding portal would be unnecessary and wasteful and countered unsubstantiated arguments that support the proposal. 


Download the Comments


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Comments to the FCC regarding the competitive bidding NPRM
April 27, 2022

SHLB asked the FCC not to move forward on the proposed changes to the E-rate competitive bidding process, which would be burdensome and ineffective at addressing any issues.


Download the Comments



View Archived Documents →

E-rate Policy Group

Meetings on the 1st Thursday of the month at 2 ET


Roy Hoover
Hoover Technology Consulting

Beverly Sutherland

Meeting Notes

SHLB Members Only