The FCC has awarded almost $159 million in its latest ECF (Emergency Connectivity Fund) announcement. The funding is for applications from all three of the application windows.
The funding will support more than 300,000 students in Alabama, Guam, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Texas and West Virginia. It consists of almost $2 million from the first two application windows that will support approximately 15 schools and four libraries.
The vast majority of the funding — almost $157 million – is from the third application window, which was added in March and ran from April 28 to May 13. It will support more than 350 schools, 50 libraries and 4 consortia.
The ECF has committed almost $5.3 billion to date. The impact will be felt by more 12.7 million students in approximately 10,000 schools as well as patrons of about 900 libraries and 100 consortia. The program is responsible for more than 11 million connected devices and 5 million broadband connections. So far, about $4.1 billion is from Window 1 applications, $819 million is from Window 2 applications and $401 million is from Window 3 applications.
The ECF is aimed at supporting “off campus” learning — for example, providing devices and connectivity for students to do homework at home. It is administered by school districts and libraries.
“Even as more and more students return to classrooms in person, there is a continued need to support kids who don’t have access to the internet at home,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a press release. “Just this week, I was visiting Congresswoman Grace Meng’s district in Queens where I heard directly from local students who shared that some of their classmates found themselves typing essays on their phones because they lacked the internet and devices to complete their schoolwork. That’s unacceptable, and we can do better.”
In early May, the ECF approached the $5 billion mark, with $39 million in funding to 140 schools, 14 libraries, and one consortium in California, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Michigan, New York, Puerto Rico and Virginia. The program eventually will award $7.17 billion.