Agency
Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
Program
E-Rate/ Universal Service Program for Schools and Libraries
Link
Website
Due date
The FY2020 application deadline, March 25, 2020
Location
National
Sector
Broadband
Project funding
N/A
Program funding
$4.5B
Funding size
Project Dependent

E-Rate Program/ Universal Service Program for Schools and Libraries

RFP Summary provided by the agency

The universal service Schools and Libraries Program, commonly known as the E-rate Program, helps ensure that schools and libraries can obtain high-speed Internet access and telecommunications at affordable rates. Funding may be requested under two categories of service:Category One services include Data Transmission Services and Internet Access, and Voice Services.
Category Two services include Internal Connections, Managed Internal Broadband Services, and Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections.
Discounts for support depend on the category of service requested, the level of poverty and the urban/rural status of the appropriate school district. Discounts range from 20 percent to 90 percent of the costs of eligible services. Starting in Funding Year (FY) 2015, E-rate support of Voice Services has been phasing down 20 percent each funding year. In FY2019, Voice Services will no longer be funded.

Additional Links:

https://www.usac.org/_res/documents/sl/pdf/handouts/E-rate-Overview.pdf

What is the mission and focus of the program: research, social, economic or others?

Social, Economic

How do you submit to this opportunity?

An eligible school or library (see eligibility definitions at usac.org/sl/applicants/beforeyoubegin/definitions.aspxOpens in New Window) identifies goods or services it needs and submits a request for competitive bids to the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC).  USAC posts these requests on its website for vendors to bid on.  After reviewing the vendors’ bids, the school or library selects the most cost-effective eligible products and services using price as the primary factor.  It then applies to USAC for approval for the desired purchases.

Next, USAC issues funding commitments to eligible applicants.  When a vendor provides the selected services, either the vendor or the applicant submits requests to USAC for reimbursement of the approved discounts.

The bid request and competitive bidding processes must comply with FCC rules and also state and local procurement requirements.

Who are the target applicants: cities, universities, companies, small business, nonprofits, or others?

Internet access and many commercially available telecommunications services are eligible for discounts, as well as equipment that allows access to these services. The Eligible Services Overview gives you a general understanding of eligible products and services. To be eligible for discounts from the E-rate Program, you must meet the program definition of a school or a library. If you are not sure of your eligibility status, you may need to contact your higher-level administrative agency (state department of education, state library, or other organization) to assist you.

Example project(s) summaries from past RFPs:

Funding awarded in 2017 by Applicant Type: School District: $1.7B, School $177M, Library System $12M, Consortium $307M
E-rate Commitments Tool:
https://www.usac.org/sl/tools/commitments-search/AdvancedNotification.aspx

Other required documents/forms

https://www.usac.org/sl/tools/samples.aspx

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