Friday, February 20, 2015

E-rate Category 2 Services

With the permanent addition of $1.5 billion to the E-rate fund, raising the spending cap on the E-rate program to $3.9 billion, there is a good chance for applicants to receive Category 2 (C2) funding. Applicants must filter Internet access to be compliant with the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) in order to be eligible for support for Internet Access, Internet Connections, and Basic Maintenance. C2 covers internal connections and maintenance, which would require CIPA. Since funding is currently at $3.9 billion, it is a good time for libraries to evaluate the costs and time associated with filtering, along with other issues related to libraries and filtering. 

The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and the Department of Administration (DOA) encourage libraries that have insufficient in-building networks to consider filing E-rate applications for Category 2 funding. In anticipation of the new BadgerNet Converged Network (BCN) contract to result in lower broadband rates, the lower rates may then enable the DOA TEACH program to offer  bandwidths above the current 100Mbps maximum.

If this expectation is realized, there is a concern that a possible bottleneck to greater broadband speeds will occur in outdated in-building networks. For example, if the new BCN is able to offer a 1Gbps connection to a school but the school's router, switches, in-building LAN wiring, etc., can accommodate only 200Mbps, much of the 1Gbps capacity will be wasted.
network cables connection
Image courtesy of Pixabay

Under the new BCN contract any increase in the Badgernet Converged Network (BCN) bandwidths above 100Mbps will likely require the library to confirm that they have the in-building networking infrastructure to use the higher bandwidths. To facilitate this process DPI will be requesting libraries and library systems to provide LAN/WAN connectivity specification details through some form of survey or feedback mechanism.

The deadline to file the initial E-rate form #470 is Thursday, February 26.  It it strongly suggested not wait until the final day.  File the form as soon as possible for any E-rate service in Category 1 (telecom, broadband, Internet access) or Category 2 (in-building networking).  

In addition to the DPI E-rate website at  here are some other useful websites:

If you have any questions or comments on the above information, please contact:
Ryan Claringbole ( for questions regarding public libraries and E-rate.

Written by:
Ryan Claringbole, Public Library Development Team