In its latest wave of funding, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has committed nearly $603 million in funding for the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) program to help close the homework gap.
This additional funding will help connect an additional 1.4 million students in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. This round of funding commitments will support 1,651 schools, 85 libraries, and 14 consortia, which are approved to receive nearly 1.2 million connected devices and over 790,000 broadband connections.
In a press release, the FCC noted that these additional commitments bring the current total commitments to over $3.8 billion, supporting students, school staff, and library patrons in all 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia.
As part of the ECF program, the funding can be used to support off-campus learning, such as nightly homework and virtual learning, as schools and libraries continue to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“As students and educators around the country enjoy time with their families before tackling the second half of the school year, the FCC continues to provide support to ensure they have the connectivity they need when they return,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “Today’s announcement will help an additional million children get the internet access and technology needed for success in today’s virtual and hybrid classrooms.”
The most recent funding announcement marks the sixth wave of commitments, and includes over $367 million in commitments from Window 1 applications and nearly $236 million in commitments from Window 2 applications. Total commitments to date are supporting over 9,000 schools, 760 libraries, and 100 consortia for nearly 8.3 million connected devices and over 4.4 million broadband connections.