Skip Navigation

Federal Communications Commission

English Display Options

Commission Document Attachment


Download Options


A Student-Centered E-Rate Program: Focus on Libraries

Commissioner Ajit Pai of the Federal Communications Commission has proposed to modernize

the E-Rate program to meet the needs of the digital age. For libraries, his plan focuses on five key


1. Simplify the Program

Libraries need to fill out only two forms: an initial application and a report back on how the

money was spent

Initial application can be no more than one page

Universal Service Fund administrator does all the calculations, reducing the burden on libraries

Less red tape means fewer delays, more predictability, and no need to hire consultants

2. Fairer Distribution of Funding

Reserves about 10 percent of E-Rate funding for libraries

Gives every library in America an E-Rate budget; every librarian knows how much funding is

available on day one

Libraries receive money based on objective metrics

Additional funds allocated for libraries in rural and/or low-income areas as well as small libraries

to account for higher costs and different needs

3. Focus on Next-Generation Technologies for Library Patrons

Patrons come first; eliminates disincentive to spend money on Wi-Fi

No more funding for stand-alone telephone service

Equal funding for all eligible services; local libraries (not Washington) set priorities

4. More Transparency and Accountability

Creates website where anyone can find out exactly how any library is spending E-Rate funds;

enables patrons, city councils, press, and public to conduct effective oversight

Head librarian must certify that E-Rate funds were used to help patrons

5. Fiscal Responsibility

Ends the “more you spend, more you get” phenomenon: Libraries given fixed amount of money

and must contribute at least one dollar for every three E-Rate dollars they receive

Better incentives, reduced waste, and less red tape allows program to accomplish much more

with the same amount of money; over $1 billion more in first year provided for next-generation


Caps overall USF budget before any increase in E-Rate budget; any expansion in E-Rate must be

accompanied by corresponding cuts elsewhere in USF


Note: We are currently transitioning our documents into web compatible formats for easier reading. We have done our best to supply this content to you in a presentable form, but there may be some formatting issues while we improve the technology. The original version of the document is available as a PDF, , or as plain text.


You are leaving the FCC website

You are about to leave the FCC website and visit a third-party, non-governmental website that the FCC does not maintain or control. The FCC does not endorse any product or service, and is not responsible for, nor can it guarantee the validity or timeliness of the content on the page you are about to visit. Additionally, the privacy policies of this third-party page may differ from those of the FCC.