About "USF" and "E-rate" Discounts


When Congress passed the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued the rules that implement this act.  One part of this statute established a Universal Service Fund (USF) that allows schools and public libraries to apply for discounts for telecommunication services and technologies. Depending on the demographic characteristics of your community, these discounts could be very substantial. Check to see what discount percentage your library is eligible for. To receive these discounts, public libraries must apply to the Federal Government for them annually.

You can find more information about this program and the application process at the Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) website, which is one of the programs administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC).   See also the following resources for related information:

  • What is E-rate? This page, prepared by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Technology, provides information about the E-Rate program, filing, and links to selected resources.
  • ALA Universal Service page. The American Library Association maintains these pages with extensive information about the background of the USF, the ALA e-rate task force, ALA filings related to e-rate, and relevant publications (in PDF format).
  • "Rethinking the E-Rate". Article by Carrie Lowe for American Libraries, October 2008

Your Technology Plan

As part of your application, you may need to have a technology plan that has been certified by an appropriate state agency. The State Library has been designated as this agency for libraries in Texas.  Please see "Preparing and submitting your technology plan" for more information.

Have questions about E-rate?  Please contact :

Henry Stokes
State E-rate Coordinator
hstokes@tsl.texas.gov
512-463-6624

Page last modified: February 10, 2014