Federal dollars for local broadband connection at Indiana public libraries

Have you heard the phrase “Think globally, but act locally?” Nowhere is that more evident than in your local public library. Your public library provides you access to the internet either through the library computer or your own device. From your local library you can access the world through their broadband connection. The public libraries broadband connection is supported by the federal eRate program that helps with cost control as public libraries share their cost information.

The public libraries’ demands for internet access by the public increases each year; so the cost is ever increasing due to increased bandwidth demands. Each year the demands on the eRate federal dollars grows. In the beginning, libraries had speeds of 56 k. This is no longer the norm. The American Library Association and Federal Communications Commission are recommending speeds of 100 MB for rural and 1 gigabyte for urban libraries.

Whether it’s megabytes or gigabytes, the federal eRate program supports your local broadband costs. The current federal year for broadband funding support is July 2016 through June 2017. To find the figures on those dollars benefiting Indiana, visit www.usac.org/sl and use the FRN Status Tool.

Doing a search on Indiana public libraries gives the figures for 2016 and 2017 and shows a total of a little over four million dollars support for Indiana public libraries broadband services. That represents over 150 public libraries. Remember that is not the total cost, but represents the federal support for your local internet connection in the state of Indiana. So remember when you access the internet at your local public library there is both local and federal support in actual dollars for a robust broadband connection.

This blog post was written by Karen Ainslie, library development librarian and eRate coordinator. For more information, contact the Library Development Office at (317) 232-3697 or email statewideservices@library.in.gov.