The Federal Communications Commission Friday announced that it is committing $1,203,107,496 for 3,040 schools, 260 libraries, and 24 consortia that applied for support from the $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund Program. This first wave of funding commitments will provide students, school staff and library patrons in all 50 states and Guam, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia access to the devices and broadband connectivity they need to support their off-campus education needs. The funding will support 3,081,131 devices and 774,115 broadband connections and help connect over 3.6 million students who, according to their schools, would otherwise lack devices, broadband access, or both. Interested applicants can still seek program funding starting on September 28.
“This first round of funding in the Emergency Connectivity Fund will help thousands of schools and libraries across the country provide critical online resources to their students, staff and library patrons,” said Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “From small rural libraries like the Sesser Public Library in Sesser, Illinois, to large school districts like Baltimore City Public Schools, this first wave of funding will provide more than 3 million connected devices for remote learning and will make a major dent in closing one of the cruelest parts of the digital divide.
“Closing the Homework Gap means that all students can be connected to their schools and teachers—and now the FCC has new tools to help do just that. The enthusiastic response to this program highlights just how much help is needed, and we look forward to providing additional support through our second application window that opens on September 28. Together with the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, we are investing more than $10 billion in getting students and households online.”
A second application filing window will open on September 28 and close on October 13, and will provide funding for eligible equipment and services received or delivered between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022. The funding is available for the purchase of laptops and tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and broadband connections for off-campus use by students, school staff, and library patrons in need, and is available to support off-campus leaning, such as homework and virtual learning as schools continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the first application filing window, 3,678 applicants applied for funding. Of the $1.203 billion committed in the first application window, approximately $1.17 billion will support schools, $23.97 million will be directed to libraries, and $12.03 million will support consortia of schools and libraries. The FCC continues to review applications from the first application filing window and will announce future funding commitments in coming weeks.
A state-by-state breakdown of total committed funding in the first wave is available below:
|State||Wave 1 Total Committed Funding||State||Wave 1 Total Committed Funding|
|District of Columbia||$12,636,187.13||Nevada||$1,386,103.16|