On May 10, 2021, the Federal Communications Commission adopted final rules to implement the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program (ECF). The ECF will provide more than $7 billion to schools and libraries for Internet access services to schools and libraries to close the Homework Gap. Initially, there were only a few details available about the final rules, with more information expected in the next several days.
In a news release the FCC pointed out that, “The Report and Order adopted today establishes the rules and policies governing the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program. The new rules define eligible equipment and services, service locations, eligible uses, and reasonable support amounts for funding provided. It designates the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) as the program administrator with FCC oversight, and leverages the processes and structures used in the E-rate program for the benefit of schools and libraries already familiar with the E-rate program.”
The rules were adopted unanimously with affirmative votes cast by Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, and Commissioners Brendan Carr, Geoffrey Starks, and Nathan Simington. In a news release, Commissioner Starks expressed support for the ECF rules. “By leveraging the E-Rate program’s discount matrix, the framework we adopt today will prioritize our country’s highest-need schools and libraries.”