E-rate is a federal program that lets public schools and libraries apply for discounts on eligible telephone/voice and internet services and is managed by the Universal Service Administration Company (USAC). Beginning with funding year 2015, the focus of the e-rate program shifted to broadband services; telephone/voice services are being phased down 20% per year until these discounts are no longer supported.  All applications are submitted online via the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC).

The Funding Year (FY) 2018 Form 471 application filing window opens Thursday, January 11, 2018, at 12:00 noon EST and closes on Thursday, March 22, 2018, at 11:59 PM EDT. 

**Thursday, February 22, 2018 is the last day applicants can certify Form 470, wait the required 28 days, and certify Form 471 on the last day of the window.**

Basic Steps to Apply

  • Submit Form 470 describing the eligible services you want; you may not choose a provider until the form has been online and available for a minimum of 28 days (Summer-Fall)
  • Submit Form 471 about your chosen provider and the costs of services; you must submit this form before the deadline set by USAC (Winter--USAC will announce the opening and closing dates which usually occur Jan-Mar)
  • You will get a Receipt Acknowledgement Letter (RAL) after filing your Form 471
  • Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) reviews all applications and contacts applicants if they have any clarifying questions
  • Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDL) are mailed beginning in late spring and continually throughout the year as applications are reviewed
  • Submit Form 486 after receiving your FCDL stating that you are receiving services (File within 120 days of receiving your FCDL)
  • Submit Form 472 if you are paying the service provider in full and want to receive the discounted amount as a reimbursement; you will receive payment directly to your bank account and you must have completed Form 498
  • If you pay the service provider the discounted amount they will submit Form 474 to get reimbursed by USAC

For questions, contact Jeffrey Hamilton, Adult Services Consultant and State E-rate coordinator for public libraries.