The FCC Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) has committed additional funding exceeding $24 million to support about 50,000 students, with a focus on Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Texas and Wisconsin. The ECF budget of $7.2 billion has nearly all been spent.
The latest commitment will support more than 140 schools, eight libraries and three consortia.
The ECF was created by the American Rescue Act Plan to help alleviate the impact of the COVID19 pandemic. Its mandate is to commit $7.17 billion to support off-campus connectivity and devices to support off-campus learning, including homework. It is in its final phases with almost $6.6 billion having been allocated.
“We need all our students to have access to digital tools for connecting with teachers and keeping up with homework assignments,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a press release. “This program continues to make progress in our ongoing work to close the Homework Gap.”
Until now, the ECF program has committed support to about 11,000 schools, 1,000 libraries and 100 consortia. It has provided almost 13 million connected devices and more than 8 million broadband connections.
The funding is from three application windows. Today’s announcement is from window 3. To date, that window has been responsible for $1.6 billion. Window 1 is the largest at $4.1 billion. Window 2 has generated $833 million.
This is the latest of several award announcements made already this year. On January 19, the FCC committed more than $40 million. That funding will support about 100,000 students in Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Washington and Wisconsin. It will support more than 275 schools, 15 libraries and five consortia. That funding also is from the third application window.
Two weeks earlier – on January 4 – the FCC committed more than $34 million that will target about 890,000 students in Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio and Washington. The funding will be used to support more than 250 schools, 15 libraries, and two consortia. It too is from window 3.