The FCC recently announced a second application window for schools and libraries to purchase laptops, tablets, WI-FI hotspots, modems, routers and broadband connections to serve the needs of students, school staff and library users. Funding comes from the Emergency Connectivity Fund, established by Congress in 2021 and administered by the FCC.
The first round of applications, from June 29 to August 13, brought $5.137in requests for 9.1 connected devices and 5.4 million broadband connections. The FCC ultimately approved $ 1.2 billion to connect some 3.6 million students, with additional commitments to be made on a rolling basis over the next several weeks. The current application period runs from September 28 to October 13.
This appears to be a very good program to bridge the digital divide in areas where there is a homework gap for students lacking remote internet connectivity to their local library or school.
It represents one more effort by our government and educators to help people in rural, agrarian, intercity and other underserved and/or unserved areas to enjoy the same broadband benefits as those in more technically advanced areas.
It is, most of all, a matter of fundamental fairness.