The Emergency Connectivity Fund Program will provide up to $7.17 billion in support to schools and libraries for the purchase of laptop and tablet computers, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and broadband connectivity during the COVID-19 pandemic for use by students, school staff, and library patrons who would otherwise lack connected devices and/or broadband connections sufficient to fully engage in remote learning.
The FCC and USAC will open the first Emergency Connectivity Fund Program application filing window on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 at 9:00a PT, which will fund equipment and services for the upcoming 2021-22 school year. The first application filing window will be open for 45 days, during which applicants will be able to submit requests for funding for purchases to be made between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022 to meet the needs of students, school staff, and library patrons who would otherwise lack access to basic educational opportunities and library services. The FCC's announcement of the funding window is available on their website.
We highly recommend viewing this webinar recording from the Idaho Commission for Libraries presented by Dylan Baker, E-Services Program Supervisor and William Lamb, Library Technology. Slides are also available. This will provide a valuable overview of the program and the requirements.
While the State Library of Oregon is not able to provide direct support for this program, we have gathered the numerous resources that may be helpful:
As you think about participating in this program here are some questions to consider:
- Do you have community members without Internet access at home during the July 2021 to June 2022 time frame?
- Do these patrons and students need laptops and Internet connectivity to use outside of the library building?
- Are you willing to circulate these devices and equipment during the July 2021 to June 2022 time frame?
- Are you willing to inventory the equipment, including full name of the person to whom the device was provided? Other information that will need to be tracked includes:
Are you a rural library? Do you know your E-rate discount? If at the 90% level, you are very likely to receive the funding. (You can learn more about calculating the discount rate from USAC; be sure to use columns for Category One (C1) in the discount matrix.)
- Device/equipment type (i.e., laptop, tablet, hotspot, modem, router), make/model, and serial number.
- Dates the device/equipment was loaned out and returned, or the date the library was notified the device/equipment was missing/lost/damaged.
- And are you willing to keep these files for 10 years?
- Note: Auditors from USAC and/or the FCC may ask for the above information for compliance purposes. If you are asked to share patron information, please refer to ORS 192.355 (Public records exempt from disclosure) (23)(a)(b)(c).
Next steps if you plan to participate:
- Determine need and be prepared to explain how the need was determined; don't apply for what you don't need.
- If you aren't already participating in E-rate, get registered with USAC for an E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) account for your library:
- Call USAC Customer Service at 1-888-203-8100
- Get an FCC Registration Number if you don't already have one
- If you don't already have on, get a DUNS number for you library
- If you haven't already done so, get your library registered with SAM.gov – the whole process can take up to 20 days with this three-step process:
- Be prepared to provide patrons with an eligible/acceptable use policy explaining that ECF equipment is intended only for patrons who do not have internet access sufficient to meet their needs
- The Order requires patrons to sign a statement to this effect
- Determine how you will retain all records for 10 years
While the State Library of Oregon is not able to provide direct support for this program, we have gathered the following resources that may be helpful:
- We highly recommend viewing this webinar recording from the Idaho Commission for Libraries presented by Dylan Baker, E-Services Program Supervisor and William Lamb, Library Technology. Slides are also available.
- The FCC will host a public information session on the Emergency Connectivity Fund on Friday, June 25 @ 11:00p PT. The event will stream live at fcc.gov/live. Questions can be sent in advance to ECFwebinar@fcc.gov.
- More detail on the Program is available in the FCC Order that established the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program. To learn more, please visit EmergencyConnectivityFund.org and sign up for Emergency Connectivity Fund Program emails.
- USAC will conduct outreach and training about the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program. Register for an Emergency Connectivity Fund Program overview training. USAC will repeat the training several times to allow all potential program participants to join a session and will post recordings of webinars when they are completed.
- USAC will post ECF Program e-learning modules on their website and host weekly office hours where applicants and service providers can ask questions and get information about the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program application process. Visit their Emergency Connectivity Fund Program website to view trainings, access e-learning modules and register for office hour sessions.
- ALA's resource page which includes toolkits to help wtih the application process based on need/use including tablet/laptop lending, long-term hotspot lending, and ore.