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On May 11, 2021, the FCC released a Report and Order that implements the $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund Program.  The Emergency Connectivity Fund Program will enable eligible schools and libraries to seek funding for purchases during the upcoming school year of laptops and tablet computers, Wi-Fi hotspots, other eligible equipment, and broadband connectivity for students, school staff, and library patrons who would otherwise lack access to connected devices and broadband service sufficient for remote learning. 

If there is funding available after the provision of support for these upcoming purchases, the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program will reimburse schools and libraries for eligible equipment and broadband connectivity previously purchased during the COVID-19 pandemic to meet the unmet needs of students, school staff, and library patrons who would have otherwise lacked access to devices and services sufficient to meet their remote learning needs.

For individuals with disabilities, the Report and Order states:

  • Connected devices are expected to be accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities in order to comply with existing accessibility rules;
  • Should people with disabilities require certain devices to connect to the Internet, the schools and libraries are expected to request such devices to accommodate disabilities if needed;
  • Applicants may request a waiver of the reasonable maximum support amount of $400 for laptops and tablets, if the reasonable cost to purchase devices for students, school staff, or library patrons with disabilities is higher than $400 and the public interest warrants a deviation from the general rule.

Links to News Release:
URL:     https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-launch-717-billion-connectivity-fund-program
Word:  https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-372311A1.docx
PDF:     https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-372311A1.pdf
Text:    https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-372311A1.txt

Links to the Report and Order:
URL:      https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-launch-717-billion-connectivity-fund-program-0  
Word:   https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/FCC-21-58A1.docx  
PDF:      https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/FCC-21-58A1.pdf
Text:     https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/FCC-21-58A1.txt

For further information, please contact Molly M. O’Conor, Attorney Advisor, Telecommunications Access Policy Division, Wireline Competition Bureau at (202) 418-0578 or by email at Molly.OConor@fcc.gov.  Individuals who use videophones and are ASL-fluent may call the FCC’s ASL Consumer Support Line at (844) 432-2275 (videophone).

Wednesday, May 12, 2021