The FCC has announced a total of $602,985,895.13 in the sixth wave of awards in the Emergency Connectivity Fund program, which is administered by schools and libraries. and supports broadband connectivity and devices for students, school staff and library patrons.
The program, which was established in the American Rescue Plan in an effort to help communities deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, has a budget of more than $7.2 billion in funding. The latest announcements mark the halfway point, as more than $3.8 billion has been committed. Beneficiaries include students, school staff, and library patrons in all the states, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia.
The latest commitment will support 1,651 schools, 85 libraries and 14 consortia. These commitments cover nearly 1.2 million connected devices and more than 790,000 broadband connections.
The commitments announced today will bring more than $367 million in support for Window 1 applications and almost $236 million in commitments from Window 2 applications.
To date, the program has made commitments to more than 9,000 schools, 760 libraries and 100 consortia for almost 8.3 million connected devices and more than 4.4 million broadband connections.
“As students and educators around the country enjoy time with their families before tackling the second half of the school year, the FCC continues to provide support to ensure they have the connectivity they need when they return,” FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel said in a press release about the Emergency Connectivity Fund awards. “Today’s announcement will help an additional million children get the internet access and technology needed for success in today’s virtual and hybrid classrooms.”
In November, the FCC announced $421 million in awards in the program. At that point, the program had provided funding for 6,954 schools, 613 libraries and 80 consortia which, collectively, will receive more than 6.8 million connected devices and more than 3.5 million broadband connections.
When the program was announced in May, Rosenworcel said it is the “largest single effort in the nation’s history to make sure students have access to broadband and devices they need for school.”