E-rate & Wireless Hotspots

2020-03-31 — URGENT

Under current E-rate rules, mobile hotspots that libraries lend to patrons are not eligible for E-rate funding. In light of the closure of libraries and schools due to COVID-19, E-rate professionals have reached out to the FCC to ask that they waive this rule, at least temporarily. To plan for that possibility, you may want to file a Form 470 to assist you with funding current, expanded, or new hotspot lending programs. (Even if the rule isn't waived, you can use the Form 470 process as a bidding mechanism for your program outside of E-rate support.)

The 470 deadline is currently April 1st. If the deadline is not extended you will need to file your Form 470 today.

When filing the Form 470 for hotspots/air cards, the online portal will require that you upload an RFP document. You can find a simple template below.

Form 470 steps to be aware of:

  • Choose “Category 1”
  • Upload RFP, and then check the box on the next screen to associate it with your Category 1 request
  • Under “Add New Service Request”, choose “Cellular Data/Air Card Service”
  • Enter the minimum quantity you are seeking
  • Enter “Minimum Capacity” (1Gbps is recommended)
  • Enter “Maximum Capacity” (5Gbps is recommended)
  • In the “Narrative” explain this is a request for “Cellular Data/Air Card Service” for students and patrons who do not have internet access at home and required for them to continue to access government and education resources during the COVID-19 crisis.

Please note: these devices do not need to be filtered for CIPA-compliance; currently, only library-owned devices, using library-provided Internet, while on library property, must be filtered. So, if you’re providing laptops and/or hotspots/air cards to patrons, the current E-Rate rules do not require filtering. 

Attachment Size
Hotspot Sample RFP - Libraries.docx 14.13 KB