Need Costly Internet Equipment? New changes to E-rate provide libraries more funding

If you’re an accredited public library, there are two categories of funding you can apply for in E-rate, the federal program that pays you significant discounts (up to 90%) for your library’s Internet costs.

Category 1 covers the monthly costs to access the Internet from your provider, plus some special construction charges. It has no budget cap;

Category 2 covers cabling, equipment, licenses, and other services to support broadband at the library. It does have a budget. Here’s a list of all the goodies that you can get discounts on in Category 2:

  • Wireless Access Points/Wireless Controllers
  • Routers
  • Switches
  • Antennas (must be integral to the LAN/WAN)
  • Firewall Equipment
  • Internal Structured Cabling (unless solely dedicated to voice)
  • Caching Servers – (these are the only eligible servers)
  • Racks that house eligible equipment
  • UPS that support eligible equipment
  • Cloud-based functionality of eligible equipment
  • Licenses for eligible equipment (can apply for multi-year license in Year 1 of your contract)
  • Software that supports eligible equipment
  • Limited basic maintenance services for eligible equipment
  • Managed Internal Broadband Services (MIBS) – (see more below)
  • Taxes, surcharges and other similar reasonable charges
  • Shipping charges
  • Training on how to use eligible equipment
  • Installation and configuration (not required to be the equipment vendor)

For the last few years, Category 2 services have had a limited budget for you to use, based on the square footage of the library. The deadline to spend the amount allocated to your library was up in the air, until…

NEWSFLASH: Last week it was announced that Category 2 budgets are extended for the upcoming E-rate funding year (FY 2020) with an added 20% on top of that! And that in 2021, new rules will be implemented, including system wide budgets, a combined multiplier for all libraries, and a floor of $25,000, which is a significant increase from the last few years.

If you want to get potentially HUGE savings on your Internet equipment, cabling, and service, NOW is the time to look into applying for Category 2 of E-rate funding.

Contact Henry Stokes at 512-463-6624 if you need further information.

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