E-Rate and California Teleconnect Fund (CTF) Information for Libraries
The Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) of the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) provides affordable access to telecommunications services for all eligible schools and libraries in the United States. The USAC is a not-for-profit corporation appointed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ensure that the benefits of telecommunications services reach students and communities across the country. Funded at up to $2.25 billion annually, the Program provides discounts on telecommunications services, Internet access and internal connections.
Complete application information is available here.
The SLD has significantly improved and streamlined the online application process and corrected many problems you may have encountered in the past.
The California State Library is the certified approver of technology plans for California. An approved technology plan is required for applications requesting Priority Two services (internal connections: switches, routers, cabling and basic maintenance). Libraries should base their E-Rate purchases on the technology plan. The information provided on FCC Forms 470, 471, 486, and 500 should build on the foundation provided by the approved technology plan.
At the time that a FCC Form 486 is submitted to the SLD, a library will be required to state that the California State Library has approved its technology plan.
The California State Library provides a document for development of the library technology plan:
- Technology Plan Form (DOC)
Please note the following:
- No technology plan is required if you are applying for E-Rate discounts on basic local and long distance telephone service, and Internet Access.
- Plans are for a three-year term.
According to the SLD:
"To qualify as an approved Technology Plan for a Universal Service discount, the plan must meet the following four criteria that are core elements of successful school and library technology initiatives:
- the plan must establish clear goals and a realistic strategy for using telecommunications and information technology to improve education or library services;
- the plan must have a professional development strategy to ensure that staff know how to use these new technologies to improve education or library services;
- the plan must include an assessment of the telecommunication services, hardware, software, and other services that will be needed to improve education or library services;
- the plan must include an evaluation process that enables the school or library to monitor progress toward the specified goals and make mid-course corrections in response to new developments and opportunities as they arise.
Successful plans align these four criteria criteria with the overall education or library service improvement objectives of states, districts, and local schools or libraries. It is critical that technology planning not be viewed or treated as a separate exercise dealing primarily with hardware and telecommunications infrastructure. There must be strong connections between the proposed physical infrastructure of the information technology and the plan for professional development, curriculum reform, and library service improvements."
California Teleconnect Fund
The California Public Utility Commission maintains a discount program for libraries similar to that offered through the E-Rate. As of January, 2006, they apply the E-Rate discount first before applying the California Teleconnect Fund. See
ALA E-Rate and Universal Service – http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/telecom/erate/index.cfm
National School Lunch Program (NSLP) Participation data for California School Districts – http://data1.cde.ca.gov/dataquest/
Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC)- Schools and Library Division (SLD):
SLD help line: 1-888-203-8100
SLD email online response form: http://www.slforms.universalservice.org/EMailResponse/EMail_Intro.aspx
AT&T E-Rate Information – http://www.corp.att.com/erate/
California Department of Education E-Rate Program
(Documents in PDF format can be viewed with the Adobe Acrobat Reader .)
For further information on approval of library technology plans contact the California State Library E-Rate coordinator Rushton Brandis, Rushton.Brandis@library.ca.gov.