For over 20 years the majority of the cost to connect Maine’s K-12 schools and public libraries to the Internet has been paid for with E-Rate funds. E-Rate is the “friendly” name of one of the FCC’s Universal Service Fund programs. Officially the program is called the Schools and Libraries Program. The FCC has the Universal Service Administration Company, or USAC, administer all of the Universal Service Programs including the E-Rate program. Networkmaine files a consortium application with USAC for E-Rate funding each year on behalf of its members that participate in the MSLN Project. E-Rate covers roughly 70% of the connectivity costs of the MSLN Project. In recent years, that has represented over $4.0 million of E-Rate support coming to Maine.
The map below depicts information pulled from USAC’s OpenData website detailing successful applications for Data Transmission Services and/or Internet Access, referred to as “Category 1 services”, in E-Rate funding years 2018, 2019, and 2020.