The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that schools and libraries can begin to file applications next week for the $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF).
During a 45-day application filing window, schools and libraries can apply for broadband connections for off-campus use by students, school staff and library patrons. In May, the FCC announced that the ECF program will also support the purchase of Wi-Fi hotspots for school buses and bookmobiles.
“For too long, the homework gap has been a troubling and persistent digital equity problem in the U.S.,” stated FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “With classes themselves moving online and the pandemic requiring us to stay home, we went from having millions of children who couldn’t do online homework assignments to having millions of children who couldn’t do schoolwork at all. In other words, the homework gap became a full-fledged learning and education gap.”
She added that the ECF program, which was established under the American Rescue Plan 2021, offers a way to change that.
The Universal Service Administrative Company is serving as the program’s administrator with FCC oversight. The application filing window will run from June 29 to Aug. 13. Funds can support purchases for the 2021-2022 school year.
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