The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has committed more than $1 billion in additional funding for the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) program.
The funding, which is part of the second wave of ECF funding, will go to 2,471 schools, 205 libraries, and 26 consortia to purchase more than 2.4 million devices and 1.9 million broadband connections. The FCC said this funding will connect nearly eight million students.
The funding comes from the $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund Program. Combined with the first wave of ECF funding, students, school staff, and library patrons in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands will receive access to the devices and broadband connectivity they need to support their off-premises educational needs.
“This new round of funding will connect even more students and library patrons with new tools for online learning and communicating with teachers in our ongoing work to close the Homework Gap,” said FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “We are providing resources for schools and libraries across the country, from tiny communities in Delta Junction, Alaska supporting Delta Community Library, to large school districts like New York City. Together with the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, the Commission is investing more than $10 billion to support America’s critical broadband needs.”
The funding can be used to purchase laptops and tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and broadband connections for use by students, school staff, and library patrons in need. The funding also can be used to support off-campus learning, such as homework and virtual learning.
The FCC said it has exceeded its goal of responding to 50 percent of all applications within 60 days of the closing of the first filing window by making funding decisions for nearly 60 percent of applications.