The third and final application for the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) resulted in funding requests totaling $2.8 billion, almost double the available funds.
The Federal Communications Commission announced that the third filing window of the ECF received requests to fund over 5 million connected devices and over 4 million broadband connections.
The program reportedly had $1.5 billion remaining. Applications to fund schools and libraries with the greatest need receive priority, with a preference for schools and libraries located in rural areas. The FCC expects to fund requests from many of the 7,369 school districts, 628 libraries and 133 consortia that applied from across the country.
“The continued interest in the Emergency Connectivity Fund demonstrates what we’ve known for a long time — far too many kids across the country need off-campus support to get online and keep up with their schoolwork. This program has been able to help millions of students over the past year and into the coming school year. I’m proud of that,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “We received more requests than Congress gave us funds to support for this final round of applications, so we’re prioritizing those with the greatest need. But the work doesn’t stop there. We’ll continue to look for ways to close the Homework Gap and ensure no child is left offline.”
Related: FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel Pushes for E-Rate Funding of School Bus Wi-Fi
Related: U.S. Senate Bill Seeks Expanded School Bus Wi-Fi
Related: Third Round of Emergency Connectivity Funding to Open Next Month
Related: FCC Emergency Connectivity Fund Applications Open Soon
Earlier this month, Rosenworcel announced a proposal to allow E-Rate funding for school bus Wi-Fi, which was an allowed use case of the ECF money.
To date, ECF has helped over 12.5 million students and provided schools and libraries with over 10 million connected devices and 5 million broadband connections. The FCC added that over $4.8 billion in program funding commitments have been approved to date