On February 7, 2022, the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB) met with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to discuss the need for an extension of time for school and libraries to use their funding from the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF). According to the meeting participants, the opportunity for applicants to utilize their ECF funding by June 30, 2022, has been impacted by multiple factors, including:
- Delayed funding commitments, which have led to postponed equipment deliveries and later-than-expected service start dates.
- Supply chain issues, which are slowing deliveries.
- Deployment logistics, that have resulted in the need for additional time to distribute equipment.
SHLB discussed the need for a third application window for new purchases, as well as an extension of the June 30, 2022, service delivery deadline.
The summary of the meeting was filed on February 9 by SHLB as an additional comment to a recent Ex Parte filing, where stakeholders urged the FCC to make revisions to the ECF program because the need for broadband connectivity for students at home remains strong.
Also, E‐rate Management Professionals Association (E‐mpa®) filed comments in support of SHLB Coalition, CoSN, SETDA, and ALA to extend the June 30, 2022 service delivery deadline for the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) to June 30, 2023. E-mpa noted that, “… There are several other situations that are also resulting in applicants not being able to utilize their much-needed ECF funding support. These include supply chain shortages, price increases and staffing shortages which are a new reality during the COVID-19 pandemic…”