Comment: April 5, 2021
Reply Comment: April 23, 2021

On March 16, 2021, the FCC released a Public Notice seeking comment on the Emergency Connectivity Fund for educational devices and connections.  To help schools and libraries provide devices and connectivity to students, school staff, and library patrons during the pandemic, Congress established the $7.171 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund as part of the recently enacted American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and directed that, within 60 days of enactment, the FCC adopt rules providing for the distribution of funding from the Emergency Connectivity Fund.

Specifically for individuals with disabilities, the FCC asks:

  • What rules should the Commission adopt to ensure that “connected devices” eligible for support from the Emergency Connectivity Fund are both accessible to and usable by people with different types of disabilities, including people who are deaf or hard of hearing; blind or low vision; deafblind; and those with physical disabilities? 
  • In interpreting “advanced telecommunications and information services” eligible for support, are there equipment or services that would be particularly helpful to people with different types of disabilities?
  • For eligible equipment, such as laptops and tablets, should the maximum price be higher for equipment provided to students, school staff, and library patrons with disabilities?
  • What broadband speeds are necessary for people with disabilities to use Telecommunications Relay Services and, in particular, Video Relay Services?

Links to the Public Notice:
URL:    https://www.fcc.gov/document/wcb-seeks-comment-emergency-connectivity-fund-close-homework-gap     
Word:   https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-21-317A1.docx  
PDF:    https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-21-317A1.pdf  
Text:     https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-21-317A1.txt  

For further information about this item, 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 fluent in American Sign Language (ASL) may call the FCC’s ASL Consumer Support Line at (844) 432-2275 (videophone).

 

Updated: 
Tuesday, March 23, 2021