The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that it is committing $96 million in new funding through its Emergency Connectivity Program, which aims to expand broadband access and provide devices to students to help close the homework gap.
The FCC said that $53 million from the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) will go to help students living in states impacted by Hurricanes Fiona and Ian, including Florida, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, and South Carolina.
“We need to make sure all kids have digital tools for connecting with school, but it’s especially important for students living in those areas damaged by the recent hurricanes,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “This program will help those students by funding hot spots, tablets, and broadband services, building on our ongoing work to close the Homework Gap.”
Highlighting the Commission’s efforts to help students impacted by recent hurricanes, the FCC said that the Puerto Rico Department of Education is receiving support for 225,000 mobile hotspots and Pinellas County Schools near Clearwater, Fla., is receiving support for nearly 15,000 laptops from the latest round of ECF funding.
Through the Emergency Connectivity Program, which launched last year, the FCC has committed $6 billion in funding for schools and libraries across the country. According to the FCC, the program has provided schools and libraries with three different “application windows” to apply for support. The latest round of funding will go towards applications submitted in all three application windows, which will support approximately 170 schools, 30 libraries, and 1 consortium.