The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced it is committing $169 million in the latest wave of funding for the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF), bringing the total to over $3.2 billion that goes to support students, school staff, and library patrons in all 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia.

Congress authorized the ECF as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to help schools and libraries provide the tools and services their communities need for remote learning. Eligible schools and libraries can receive laptop and tablet computers; Wi-Fi hotspots; modems; routers; and broadband connectivity for off-campus use by students, school staff, and library patrons.

This round of funding will connect over 500,000 students in 47 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia, and can be used to support off-campus learning as schools and libraries continue to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The latest round of funding will support 492 schools, 70 libraries, and ten consortia, which are approved to receive over 380,000 connected devices, and more than 135,000 broadband connections.

The ECF program has connected approximately 10.6 million students and supports about 7,535 schools, 692 libraries, and 91 consortia for over 7.1 million connected devices and nearly 3.5 million broadband connections.

In the latest round, the states receiving the largest funding are:

  • California: $25,550,373;
  • Florida: $23,239,971;
  • Texas: $11,491,521;
  • Idaho: $11,048,215;
  • Minnesota: $10,865,203;
  • Ohio: $8,116,708; and
  • Washington: $7,293,148.
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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.