FCC Announces Second Application Window for Broadband Relief Fund

On September 28, the FCC will open a second, 15-day window for schools and libraries to apply for funding to keep students, staff, and patrons connected during the COVID-19 health emergency.

The Federal Communications Commission will open a second application window for its $7.17 billion Emergency Communications Fund after receiving more than $5 billion in funding requests from schools and libraries during the program’s first application period, which closed on August 13.

As previously reported on Conduit Street, the ECF, established as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), reimburses schools and libraries for eligible equipment and broadband connections to help students, staff, and patrons without access to remote learning.

Who’s Eligible?

Schools and libraries – including primary and secondary schools – may apply for funds to purchase laptops and tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and broadband connections for off-campus use by students, school staff, and library patrons.

Note: The funds may support off-campus learning, such as homework, even if schools have returned to full-time in-person instruction.

To participate, schools and libraries must have an active FCC Registration Number. In addition, schools, libraries, and service providers who agree to invoice on behalf of applicants must also have a SAM.gov registration 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 to purchase eligible equipment and services made between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022.

How to Apply

The second application window opens on Tuesday, September 28, and closes on Wednesday, October 13.

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

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

FCC “Back to School” Campaign Promotes Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

The FCC’s “Back to School” campaign aims to promote uptake of the EBB program among eligible households. New materials include school posters, bookmarks, handouts, and Pell Grant / school lunch / breakfast program-specific flyers.

As previously reported on Conduit Street, the EBB provides a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households. In addition, eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.

Eligible households can enroll through an approved provider or by visiting GetEmergencyBroadband.org.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit Outreach Toolkit includes new social media post templates and graphics for counties and school systems to promote the program.

As previously reported on Conduit Street, the General Assembly this year passed SB 824 / HB 1328 – Economic Development – Broadband Providers – Joint Trenching and Fee (Building Out Broadband Act of 2021), a MACo Legislative Initiative to help close the digital divide by enhancing incentives and orchestrating opportunities for broadband deployment across the state.

Useful Links

FCC Emergency Connectivity Fund Program

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

Close Menu
%d bloggers like this: