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FCC announces new program to provide funding to schools and libraries

The agency is looking to close the ‘homework gap’ by expanding broadband access

Photo (c) FilippoBacci - Getty Images
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced two new developments that will help more consumers get connected to the internet. 

First, the agency has reminded consumers that it will begin taking applications for its $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit program starting Wednesday, May 12. The program gives low-income consumers discounts of up to $50 a month for broadband service and up to $75 a month if the household is on tribal lands. A one-time discount of up to $100 on a computer or tablet will also be given to eligible households. 

Next, the FCC has announced its unanimous adoption of a $7.17 billion program that aims to get more Americans high-speed internet at home. The program was established to enable schools and libraries to purchase computers, tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, and broadband connectivity during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Far too often, students, teachers, and library patrons lack the access they need to broadband

and connected devices. This need has become even more apparent during these unprecedented times,” said Jessica Rosenworcel, Acting Chairwoman of the FCC. “Between this Emergency Connectivity Fund Program and the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, we are investing more than $10 billion in American students and households.” 

The FCC noted that as many as 17 million children in the U.S. -- particularly those from communities of color and low-income households -- don't have access to broadband, which stands in the way of remote learning during the pandemic. 

Rosenworcel noted that these investments will help close the “Homework Gap” for students across the country and give “so many more households the ability to connect, communicate, and more fully participate in modern life.”

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