March 11, 2021: President Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) into law, which includes the $7 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund to support libraries in closing the “Homework Gap” by equipping community members with home broadband, devices and services. In addition, ARPA has also allocated $200 million in funding to The Institute of Museum and Library Services, which will support grants in every U.S. state and territory.
May 11, 2021: The Federal Communications Commission unanimously adopted final rules to implement the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program. This $7.17 billion program, funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, will enable schools and libraries to purchase laptop and tablet computers, Wi-Fi hotspots and broadband connectivity for students, school staff and library patrons in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
May 26, 2021: The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced a new funding opportunity for libraries that will provide direct support to address community needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Proposals to this grant program may continue, enhance or expand existing programs and services, or launch new programs to address emergent needs and unexpected hardships. Applications for pandemic response funding are due June 28, 2021, with award announcements anticipated in October 2021. Learn more.
June 15, 2021: The FCC and USAC will open the first Emergency Connectivity Fund Program application filing window on Tuesday, June 29, 2021, which will fund equipment and services for the upcoming 2021-22 school year. The first application filing window is open through August 13, during which applicants will be able to submit requests for funding for purchases to be made between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022. Learn More.
ULC Member Talking Points
ULC has synthesized new insights from the latest research and guidance to create updated talking points, including information on the final rules released on May 11, 2021 from the FCC to implement the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program. Click here to access these talking points in ULC’s Member Knowledge Exchange.
ULC Submits Comments to FCC on the Implementation of the Emergency Connectivity Fund
On April 23, 2021, ULC submitted comments to the FCC on the essential role of public libraries in closing equity gaps for home internet access. Building on ULC's Digital Equity Leadership Brief and action team meetings, as well as the ongoing discussions about ARPA funding through ULC Member Group calls, these comments urge the FCC to implement the ECF to allow for libraries to maximize their participation.
Potential Funding Opportunities for Libraries
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