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.
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If you’re an applicant, make sure you have access to the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC). EPC is the account and application management portal for the E-rate program. Before you start the application process, be sure to review what you need to know before you begin. The process starts with competitive bidding for the services you need. You then select the most cost-effective provider. After you sign a contract or establish a service agreement, and USAC issues you a funding commitment, you can start to receive discounts on the services USAC has approved.
If you’re a service provider, make sure your company has a Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN), also known as the service provider’s 498 ID. Additionally, your company will need an account in EPC. When you win a bid and start providing services, make sure to discuss the invoicing process up-front with the applicant to determine which invoicing option they prefer.
Funding may be requested under two categories of service:
- Category One services include Data Transmission Services and/or Internet Access.
- Category Two services include Internal Connections (IC), Managed Internal Broadband Services (MIBS), and Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections (BMIC).
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.