FCC Doles Out Another $1 Billion for Broadband

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The Federal Communications Commission is committing more than $1.1 billion as part of its $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund program, aimed at boosting broadband access for students, school staff, and library patrons. The agency has already committed nearly $2.4 billion to date. The FCC has processed nearly 60% of the applications it received for emergency connectivity funding during an application window that closed in August, surpassing an internal goal to process 50% within two months.

The latest numbers are another data point in the need for broadband dollars to close the digital divide. Lawmakers and advocacy groups have been pushing for increased funding to the program, which Congress authorized in early 2021 as part of pandemic relief efforts. A coalition of 57 education and library groups called on Congress to include at least $4 billion in funding for the program as part of Democrats’ social spending package. The groups are concerned that the available funding will dry up after the program’s second application window, which closes October 13. “When that funding ends, the home broadband connections established will have to terminate unless additional funding is provided,” the groups wrote to top Democrats. “Should these home broadband connections be cut-off, students could find their online courses interrupted, their research projects and homework assignments impossible to complete, and their relationships with educators and peers shut down.”

FCC Doles Out Another $1 Billion for Broadband FCC announces second wave of emergency connectivity funding (StateScoop)