E-Rate is a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program that makes telecommunications and information services more affordable for eligible schools and libraries. The program is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) and receives funding from the Universal Service Fund. With this funding, E-Rate provides discounts to eligible schools and libraries for telecommunications, Internet services, and internal connections. E-Rate discounts range from 20 to 90 percent of the costs of eligible services and are determined by the level of poverty and the rural or urban status of the school district or library system.
E-Rate funding may be requested under two categories of service:
Category One: Data Transmission Services and Internet Access
Category Two: Internal Connections, Managed Internal Broadband Services, and Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections
E-Rate supports connectivity which is the conduit or pipeline for communications using telecommunications services or the Internet. The school or library must provide resources such as end-user equipment (computer, telephones, etc.), software, professional development, and other elements necessary to utilize the connectivity.