The Schools and Libraries Program of the Universal Service Fund (E-Rate) is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) under the direction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and provides discounts to assist schools and libraries to obtain affordable telecommunications, Internet access and advanced technologies. Schools and libraries can apply annually for discounts of from 20-90% on telecommunications services, Internet access and internal connections. The E-Rate program is a critical source of additional funds to Ohio public libraries. The State Library of Ohio encourages all public libraries to apply for E-Rate. For more information about E-rate participation and training, please visit https://www.oplin.ohio.gov/erateinfo.
The Children’s Internet and Protection Act, also known as CIPA, has been in effect since April 2001. CIPA places restrictions libraries participating in the eRate program, also known Universal Service Schools and Libraries program and libraries receiving grants through the Library Service Technology Act (LSTA) program. These restrictions take the form of requirements for Internet safety policies and technology which blocks or filters certain material from being accessed through the Internet.
Requirements for CIPA compliance are outlined on OPLIN’s webpage here: http://oplin.ohio.gov/cipa. It is important to note that libraries with OPLIN Internet connections are required to send OPLIN an eRate Form 479 annually that declares whether or not the library is CIPA-compliant.
Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC)
- Schools & Libraries (E-Rate) Program
Includes E-Rate program information, tools and resources including how to get started, acronyms & terms, eligibility, how to apply, and samples and examples.
- Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) system
This system is to be used to administer participation in the federal Universal Service Schools and Libraries support mechanism in compliance with 47 C.F.R. § 54, Subpart F. This system may be accessed by authorized users only.