The Federal Communications Commission on May 17 committed another $50 million to the Emergency Connectivity Funding (ECF) program to help schools expand broadband access and purchase of devices for students – moves that the agency hopes will help close the “homework gap” for students that don’t have access to reliable broadband service and devices.
The latest wave of ECF funding supports 46 schools, seven libraries, and two consortia across the country, including students in American Samoa, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Ohio, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The ECF program to date has provided funding for nearly 11 million connected devices and five million broadband connections throughout the country, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement.
“With help from the Emergency Connectivity Fund, millions of students across the country now have online tools to support their education,” she said.
The funding is intended to support off-campus learning – such as nightly homework – to ensure students across the country have the necessary support to keep up with their education. This 15th wave of funding includes over $49 million in commitments from Window 1 applications and over $1 million in commitments from Window 2 applications.
The FCC just wrapped up its third filing window for applications last week and will be announcing results in the coming days.
The third filing window was opened by the FCC on April 28, and eligible schools and libraries submitted requests for funding to purchase eligible equipment and services – such as laptops, tablets, routers, or broadband connections – between July 1, 2022, and Dec. 31, 2023.