The Federal Communications Commission today announced it is committing another $54 million in the funding awards through the Emergency Connectivity Program (ECF) boosting the total money awarded from the program to more than $64 billion.
The program pays for devices and connectivity for use by students and library patrons and is administered by schools and libraries. The goal is to ensure students have the necessary support to keep up with their education.
The most recent funding commitments support applications from all three of the program’s application windows, helping approximately 150,000 students across the country, including students in Florida, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Washington and West Virginia.
The program, launched last year, has provided schools and libraries with three different “application windows” to apply for support. Today’s announced funding will support approximately 100 schools, 10 libraries, and 2 consortia.
With today’s funding, the program has provided support to approximately 10,000 schools, 900 libraries, and 100 consortia, while also providing approximately 12 million connected devices and 8 million broadband connections.
Of the funding commitments approved to date, approximately $4.14 billion is supporting applications from funding Window 1; $833 million from Window 2; and $1.43 billion from Window 3.
The ECF, which is part of the American Rescue Act, eventually will grant $7.17 billion in funds. Last month the ECF committed almost $84 million to support about 140,000 students, primarily in California, Georgia, Iowa, North Carolina, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and South Carolina. That funding was designed to support more than 180 schools, 20 libraries and five consortia.
“We need to make sure all our kids have the digital tools they need to connect with teachers and online homework,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a prepared statement about the ECF funding awards. “This latest round of funding brings us closer to our goal of closing the homework gap.”