Laptop Broadband

The FCC has made awards totaling $39 million in the 14th wave of awards in the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) program.

The wave will support 140 schools, 14 libraries, and one consortium in California, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Michigan, New York, Puerto Rico and Virginia. The announcement includes almost $23 million in commitments from Window 1 applications and nearly $16 million in commitments from Window 2 applications.

Close to $5 billion has been awarded so far in the ECF program, which supports broadband for off-campus sites, such as households in which it is needed for kids to do homework. It is administered by libraries and schools. The program was part of the American Rescue Plan Act and eventually will award $7.17 billion.

ECF funding awarded to date will go toward more than 10 million connected devices and 5 million broadband connections.

“I’m proud that we’ve now gotten more than 12.5 million kids connected through the Emergency Connectivity Fund,” Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a press release about the FCC emergency connectivity awards. “We have some more work to do to get this help to all our students, but this is major progress on closing the Homework Gap in the United States.”

The third and presumably last ECF filing window opened on April 28 and will end on May 13. Those granted support will be able to buy equipment and services such as laptops, tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, and routers and pay for broadband connections between July 1 and December 31, 2023. The wave is expected to award at least $1 billion.

The 13th wave was announced on April 19. It included $37 million in funding to more than 170 schools, 30 libraries, and four consortia in Alaska, Indiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Texas.

The ECF is having a real world impact. For instance, AT&T and Charter are working with the Los Angeles Unified School District to provide broadband to eligible households with children.

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