E-Rate Overview

E-Rate Program Overview

What is the E-Rate Program?

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 established the E-Rate program in an effort to aid U.S. schools and libraries in promoting technology and obtaining affordable telecommunication and Internet services. Awarded annually since 1998, the program funds of 2.25 billion dollars are divided into two funding levels:

Priority One Services (Reoccurring Telecommunication Services)

The Priority One services are Telecommunication and Internet Access. These services include the following:

  1. Reoccurring Telecommunication Services (Basic Telephone Service, Centrex, Fax Lines, Local Dial Tone Service, Long Distance Service, POTS, 800#, Fax lines, etc.)
  2. Digital Transmission Services (ATM, Cable Modem service, Digital DSL,DS-1, DS-2, DS-3, Frame Relay, ISDN, OC-1, OC-3, OC-12, Satellite, SMDS, T-1, T-2, T-3, Fractional T-1, Wireless)
  3. Cellular / Paging (Some Eligibility Restrictions)
  4. Internet Access Service (Unbundled Internet Access, Domain Name Registration, Email Service, Wireless Internet Access)

Priority Two Services (Internal Connections) The Priority Two services are Internal Connections.

Data Communication Network (Eligible Local Area Network and Wide Area Network components, Private Branch Exchange etc.)

If you need a more detailed FY2011 Priority Two / P2 E-Rate Program eligible services, please download the FY2011 E-Rate Program Eligible Services List(850 Kb PDF) .

The amount of funding an institution is eligible for depends on their school district’s participation in the free and reduced lunch program.

What is the E-Rate process?

In order to obtain E-Rate discounts and funds, an eligible institution must be 100% E-Rate compliant and meet critical deadlines and specifications throughout the fiscal year. These include:

  • Preparing a technology plan
  • Opening the competitive vendor bidding process for 28 days [Form 470]
  • Requesting the discounts and/or funds for eligible E-Rate services [Form 471]
  • Answer questions during Program Integrity Assurance (PIA)
  • Securing a FCDL or Funding Commitment Decision Letter to allocate secured funds [Form 486]
  • Preparing and submitting an invoice for obtained services [Forms 472]

How long does it take to obtain E-Rate funding?

The entire process is managed over multiple years from the initial application through receipt of discounts and reimbursements. The strict deadlines and procedures established by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC)/Schools and Libraries Division can be difficult to manage. E-Rate Exchange, LLC will assist you in this lengthy multi-year process.
Because E-Rate procurement is our primary focus, we understand the process inside and out. Our proven methods for planning, managing and executing E-Rate applications have resulted in significant gains for our clients over the years. We have mastered this complicated scheduling, data generation and submission so that you don’t have to. Testimonials