According to a 2020 report published by Common Sense and Boston Consulting Group that focuses on closing the K-12 digital divide, 28% of Oklahoma K-12 students lack a computer and 41% of Oklahoma K-12 students lack an adequate high-speed connection at home for remote learning.
OneNet hopes to change those statistics by encouraging Oklahoma schools and libraries to apply for equipment and connectivity funding through the newly announced Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) program.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the ECF program, a $7.17 billion program to provide connectivity for remote learning during the COVID-19 emergency period. The program is designed to help schools and libraries close the homework gap for students without internet access or devices needed for remote learning. The Emergency Connectivity Fund is authorized by Congress through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
Schools & Libraries
Schools and libraries can apply for funding through the ECF program if they are eligible for the E-Rate program. Tribal libraries can also apply for ECF funding if they are eligible for the Library Services and Technology Act.
Equipment & Services
Eligible equipment includes:
- Wi-Fi hotspots
- Devices that combine a modem and router
- Laptops and tablets
Eligible services include:
- Broadband service to provide off-campus connectivity for students, teachers, school staff, or library patrons.
- If service options aren’t available, schools or libraries can request funding for new network construction and equipment.
When & Where to Apply
Eligible schools and libraries can apply between June 29, 2021 and August 13, 2021. The ECF program will accept funding requests for equipment and services to be purchased between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022.
Find more details or apply at the Universal Service Administrative Company’s (USAC) website at emergencyconnectivityfund.org.