Schools and Libraries Impacted by Storms to Net Lion’s Share of $96M in Connectivity Funding
WASHINGTON — Schools and libraries impacted by Hurricanes Fiona and Ian will net the lion’s share of $96 million in new funding through the Federal Communications Commission’s Emergency Connectivity Fund.
The new funding will support applications for broadband services and connected devices for students across the country, but especially those living in Florida, Puerto Rico and North and South Carolina.
According to the FCC, at least $53 million of the total will benefit students, teachers and library patrons living in areas impacted by the past month’s hurricanes.
For example, the Puerto Rico Department of Education is receiving support for 225,000 mobile hotspots and Pinellas County Schools near Clearwater, Florida, is receiving support for nearly 15,000 laptops.
“We need to make sure all kids have digital tools for connecting with school, but it’s especially important for students living in those areas damaged by the recent hurricanes,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.
“This program will help those students by funding hot spots, tablets and broadband services, building on our ongoing work to close the Homework Gap,” she said.
To date, the agency has committed over $6 billion to schools and libraries across the country as part of the Emergency Connectivity Fund, which launched last year.
The program has provided schools and libraries with three different “application windows” to apply for support. Wednesday’s announcement provides funding for applications put forward in all three application windows, which will support approximately 170 schools, 30 libraries and one consortium.