The FCC's Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) is a $7.17 billion program that will help schools and libraries provide the tools and services their communities need for remote learning during the COVID-19 emergency period. ECF will help provide relief to millions of students, school staff, and library patrons and will help close the Homework Gap for students who currently lack necessary Internet access or the devices they need to connect to classrooms.
For eligible schools and libraries, the ECF Program will cover reasonable costs of laptop and tablet computers; Wi-Fi hotspots; modems; routers; and broadband connectivity purchases for off-campus use by students, school staff, and library patrons.
Congress authorized the Emergency Connectivity Fund as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
Who Is Eligible to Receive Funds Through the Emergency Connectivity Fund?
Schools, libraries, and consortia of schools and libraries (e.g., regional or statewide groups of schools or libraries that apply together) that are eligible for support under the FCC's E-Rate Program and Tribal libraries eligible for support under the Library Services and Technology Act may request and receive support through the Emergency Connectivity Fund.
What Equipment and Services Are Covered?
Eligible equipment includes Wi-Fi hotspots, modems (including air cards), routers, devices that combine a modem and router, and connected devices (laptop and tablet computers). Schools and libraries can also receive funding for commercially available broadband service that provides a fixed or mobile broadband connection for off-campus use by students, school staff or library patrons. In limited instances, a school or library that can demonstrate it has no available service options sufficient to support remote learning may seek funding for the construction of new networks to provide remote learning and the equipment needed for datacasting services. Review the Eligible Services List for additional guidance on the equipment and services eligible for funding under the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program.
How Can Schools and Libraries Apply for Funding?
In view of outstanding demand and the recent spike in coronavirus cases, the FCC will open a second application filing window. This second window will open on September 28 and run until October 13. During this new application filing window, eligible schools, libraries, and consortia of eligible schools and libraries will be able to submit requests for funding to purchase eligible equipment and services between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022.
The initial ECF Program application filing window opened on June 29 and closed on August 13.
The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) is the administrator of the ECF Program and will review applications. Interested schools and libraries can find more information and apply at emergencyconnectivityfund.org. Learn more.