The FCC’s Emergency Connectivity Fund Program (ECF) has committed almost $21 million to support broadband connectivity for about 55,000 students with a focus on California, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Puerto Rico.
The ECF was created in the American Rescue Plan Act in 2021 to help reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The $7.17 billion program is administered by schools and libraries and provides devices and connectivity for students and others in off-campus activities such as doing homework.
Today’s commitment will support about 50 schools, five libraries and three consortia. The funding comes from the first and third application windows.
To date, approximately $4.14 billion of commitments are from Window 1, $834 million are from Window 2 and $1.68 billion are from Window 3. The program has supported more than 11,000 schools, 1,000 libraries and 100 consortia. It has provided nearly 13 million connected devices and more than 8 million broadband connections. The FCC says that more than 17 million students have been provided with digital connections.
“This program provides critical digital tools to connect students with their teachers and online homework,” Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a press release. “This latest round of funding continues our progress in working to close the Homework Gap.”
In mid-March, the FCC committed about $1.76 million from the ECF broadband fund to support about 5,000 students, with a focus on California, Florida, Minnesota, Missouri and New York. The funding drew almost $456,000 from the first two windows and $1.3 million from the third window.
A month earlier – in mid-February – the ECF committed more than $24 million to support about 50,000 students with a focus on Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Texas and Wisconsin. The funds will support more than 140 schools, eight libraries and three consortia. All the funding is from the third application window.
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More than 11 thousand schools, one thousand libraries, and one hundred consortia have received funding from the program.