The FCC has awarded more than $20 million to the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) program. The funding will support students in six states.
The funding, which provides connectivity and devices to support students’ and others’ off-campus studies such as homework, is targeted at children in California, Florida, Maine, Oklahoma, Washington and Wisconsin. It is administered by school districts and libraries.
The funding will support 90 schools, eight libraries and five consortia. It includes funds from all three application windows and includes almost $375,000 from the first two application windows and $19.8 million from the third.
The announcement brings the program ever closer to its $7.17 billion mandate. More than $6.6 billion has been awarded.
“Today’s funding round is another important step in our ongoing work to connect all our students to digital tools for communicating with teachers and schools,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a press release about the emergency connectivity funding. “This program has made significant progress in our dedicated commitment to close the Homework Gap across the country.”
To date, the program – which the American Rescue Plan Act created as a way to support off-campus educational activities during the COVID-19 pandemic — has supported about 11,000 schools, 1,000 libraries, and 100 consortia. It has underwritten almost 13 million connected devices and more than 8 million broadband connections. About $4.12 billion has come from window 1, $833 million from window 2, and $1.65 billion from window 3.
The program has tended to make smaller announcements as it nears the finish line.
Early last month, the FCC said that it is committing more than $30 million to support students in Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Nebraska, New Jersey, and Nevada. The funding is supporting more than 200 schools, 15 libraries, and a consortium.
A month earlier – in mid-January – committed more than $40 million to support about 100,000 students in Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Washington, and Wisconsin. The funding is supporting more than 275 schools, 15 libraries, and five consortia.