The US Federal Communications Commission on Monday unanimously approved the final rules to implement the $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund Program. The FCC program will provide funding for schools and libraries across the country to buy laptops, tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots and broadband connections to help students and teachers to access the internet for online learning during the .
The program is part of President Joe.
It also follows the FCC approving a plan in February to administerfor millions of Americans during the pandemic. That program will provide $50 per month to low-income households and $75 per month to households on Native American lands to cover the cost of broadband services starting May 12. It also provides $100 toward buying a laptop or tablet.
"Between this Emergency Connectivity Fund Program and the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, we are investing more than $10 billion in American students and households," Jessica Rosenworcel, acting chairwoman of the FCC, said in a statement Monday. "These investments will help more Americans access online education, healthcare and employment resources. They will help close thefor students nationwide."
According to the FCC, there may be 17 million children across the US who don't have access to the broadband needed for remote learning. Those children are "disproportionately from communities of color, low-income households, Tribal lands, and rural areas," the congresspeople behind the legislation -- Sens. Edward J. Markey, Maria Cantwell, Chris Van Hollen, Michael Bennet, Maggie Hassan and Congresswoman Grace Meng -- said.
"FCC implementation of the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program is an important step towards ensuring the 'homework gap' does not grow into a more damaging learning and opportunity gap for our children, particularly those who live in communities of color, low-income households and rural areas," Sen. Markey said in a statement Monday evening.