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It’s Time to Apply for E-rate Funding for Your Public Library’s Internet

2017 February 7
by Henry Stokes

It’s E-rate Season!

That means it’s time for accredited public libraries to apply for big discounts on their broadband services! Libraries are eligible to receive up to 90% on their monthly Internet access costs, plus equipment and cabling, through E-rate, the federal discount program which puts billions of dollars aside each year for schools and libraries.

The Filing Window to submit the second form, the Form 471, was just announced: It will open Monday, February 27 at 11 AM Central and will close Thursday May 11 at 10:59 PM Central. This means that the first form, the Form 470, should be submitted asap in order to have time for the required 28 days of competitive bidding.

Last year, TSLAC conducted the first ever Texas Public Library Speed Test state-wide, and the results are in: Only 6% of Texas public libraries reported results that met the broadband targets set by the FCC and ALA.  The test results indicate that as much as 94% of Texas public libraries are below national broadband standards for libraries.

Texas public libraries need to be faster. E-rate funding becomes essential in enabling libraries to afford attaining these national standards and to continue providing patrons efficient access to distance learning, e-government information, and employment opportunities.

For more information about E-rate, please see TSLAC’s E-rate page and for questions, overviews, training, etc.,  contact TSLAC’s E-rate Coordinator, Henry Stokes, at 512-463-6624, hstokes@tsl.texas.gov.

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