The Emergency Connectivity Fund Is Live!

The Federal Communications Commission today launched the most significant single campaign ever to tackle the Homework Gap and make sure students have access to the broadband and devices they need for school —the Emergency Connectivity Fund.

Effective immediately, schools and libraries can apply for support to purchase laptops, tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and broadband connections to facilitate off-campus remote learning.

As previously reported on Conduit Street, the $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund will reimburse schools and libraries for the reasonable costs of eligible equipment and broadband connections used to help students, staff, and patrons who otherwise lack access to be able to engage in remote learning.

According to FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel:

As we open the window for the Emergency Connectivity Fund, there are three numbers that every eligible school and library needs to know.

The first number is 16.9 million. That’s how many students do not have the high-speed internet access at home they need to fully participate in online learning. This problem, that I’ve labeled the Homework Gap, has been exacerbated during the pandemic and locked too many children out of the virtual classroom. We’ve seen the effects of Homework Gap during this crisis. Parking lots are full of cars with students using a free WiFi signal to get into class. Parents struggling to find safe spaces for their children to get online. These families have grit, but it shouldn’t be this hard. But help is here.

The second number is $7.17 billion. That is how many dollars are available from the Emergency Connectivity Fund from Congress. That means it’s time to think big and submit proposals that will dramatically narrow the Homework Gap in every community.

The third number is 45. That is how many days schools and libraries have to file an application for support. That is not a lot of time. It is imperative that stakeholders approach this unprecedented opportunity with a sense of urgency. Here are some things you should be doing already to get started.

Who’s Eligible?

Schools and libraries – including primary and secondary schools – that provided off-site broadband service and connected devices to students, staff, and patrons who would otherwise lack access during the COVID-19 health emergency.

To participate, schools and libraries must have an active FCC Registration Number. Schools, libraries, and service providers who agree to invoice on behalf of applicants must also have a SAM.gov registration to be able to receive program support.

Learn how to register with SAM.gov and the FCC CORES system.

What’s Covered?

The fund will reimburse reasonable costs of eligible equipment such as Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, devices that combine a modem and router, connected devices, and eligible broadband connections.

Libraries and schools can apply for funding for the purchase of eligible equipment and services made between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022.

How to Apply

The application window for the ECF program will open on Tuesday, June 29, and close on Friday, August 13.

To participate, schools and libraries must have an active FCC Registration Number. Schools, libraries, and service providers who agree to invoice on behalf of applicants must also have a SAM.gov registration to be able to receive program support.

Learn how to register with SAM.gov and the FCC CORES system.

Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more information.

Useful Links

FCC Emergency Connectivity Fund Program

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: FCC to Launch $7.1 Billion Connectivity Fund for Schools, Libraries

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: FCC Opens Enrollment for Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

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