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COVID Relief Bill Includes $7.1B for E-rate

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.  Included in the legislation is the creation of the Emergency Connectivity Fund, a new funding source consisting of $7.1 billion to be distributed through the federal E-rate program.

The Emergency Connectivity Fund will provide support for broadband Internet connectivity to off-campus locations, such as student or library patron homes.  In addition, funds will be available for hotspot, router, and modem hardware, as well as “connected devices” like laptops or tablets.

The law requires the Federal Communications Commission to establish regulations for the distribution of funds within 60 days of passage.  The full text of the law may be found here.

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