The FCC’s E-Rate program makes telecommunications and information services more affordable for schools and libraries. With funding from the Universal Service Fund (fcc.gov/encyclopedia/universalservice-fund), E-Rate provides discounts for telecommunications, Internet access, and internal connections to eligible schools and libraries. The ongoing proliferation of innovative digital learning technologies and the need to connect students, teachers, and consumers to jobs, life-long learning, and information has led to a steady rise in demand for bandwidth in schools and libraries. In recent years, the FCC refocused E-Rate from legacy telecommunications services to broadband, with a goal to significantly expand Wi-Fi access. These steps to modernize the program are helping E-Rate keep pace with the need for increased Internet access. (Learn more about the modernization of the E-Rate program: fcc.gov/e-rate-update.)
Eligible schools and libraries may receive discounts on telecommunications, telecommunications services, and Internet access, as well as internal connections, managed internal broadband services, and basic maintenance of internal connections.
Discounts range from 20 to 90 percent and are based on the poverty level of the schools. Rural schools and libraries may also receive a higher discount. Recipients must pay some portion of the service costs.