The FCC is committing $1,203,107,496.88 to 3,040 schools, 260 libraries, and 24 consortia in the first wave of the $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund program. Recipients are in the 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.
The funding can be used to buy laptops, tablets, WiFi hotspots, modems, routers and broadband connections for off-campus use by students, school staff and library patrons. It is available for off-campus learning, such as homework and virtual learning. The schools and libraries will administer the program in their areas.
The funding will support 3,081,131 devices and 774,115 broadband connections to help connect more than 3.6 million students. The first filing window, which drew 3,678 applicants, was divided between $1.17 billion for schools, $23.97 million for libraries and $12.03 million for consortia of schools and libraries.
Entities in New York got the most funding with $243,117,570.99 while those in South Dakota got the least with $91,910.25. More first window recipients are expected.
The FCC said it will continue to make awards to entities that applied in the first funding round of the program.
The second application window will run from September 28 to October 13 and will fund equipment and purchases received or delivered between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022.
“From small rural libraries like the Sesser Public Library in Sesser, Illinois, to large school districts like Baltimore City Public Schools, this first wave of funding will provide more than 3 million connected devices for remote learning and will make a major dent in closing one of the cruelest parts of the digital divide,” Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a press release.
Rosenworcel said that the FCC Emergency Connectivity Fund and the Emergency Broadband Benefit program together will be responsible for more than $10 billion in funding for broadband service and equipment for students and households.
The initial application period for the Emergency Connectivity Fund began on June 29.
The FCC announced plans in August for the second application window. At that time, it said that the first window attracted applications totaling $5.137 billion.