FCC Hands Out $361 Million More Broadband Bucks

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The FCC said it has committed another $361 million-plus in broadband subsidy dollars for schools and libraries, bringing its total to date to almost $4.2 billion since its June 2021 launch.

That is part of the $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund, not to be confused with the FCC's just-launched $14.2 billion Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), or the $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program, although one could be forgiven for not being able to keep straight all the multi-billion-dollar programs the government is launching to achieve its universal broadband goal.

“Today’s funding announcement will provide 700,000 more schoolchildren with the digital tools they need to connect with teachers and classmates,” said FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel, who as a commissioner made closing the "homework gap" one of her signature issues.

The FCC said the $361 million will go to 802 schools, 49 libraries and eight consortia for over 650,000 connected devices--desktops, laptops and tablets, but not smart phones--and over 313,000 broadband hookups.

The money can be for both in-school and "off-campus" learning (homework, virtual school). ■

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.