Today the House of Representatives passed legislation that includes a $7.6 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund. For the duration of the ongoing pandemic, the Fund will enable schools and libraries to connect students and library patrons to broadband services and devices.
John Windhausen Jr., executive director of the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition, made the following statement:
“For nearly a year now, millions of students and library patrons without home broadband access have been struggling to participate in online learning. The longer we wait to bridge this connectivity gap, the further these students and patrons fall behind on their education. The passage of today’s reconciliation bill is a welcome move to help learners of all ages. Furthermore, the legislation embodies SHLB’s ‘to and through’ approach by allowing schools and libraries to extend their broadband services to the surrounding communities. We applaud the House’s quick action and encourage the Senate to follow suit and greenlight the bill as soon as possible.”
Last month, SHLB led a coalition of education advocates in submitting an emergency E-rate Remote Learning Petition to the FCC to allow schools and libraries to connect students and patrons at home through the E-rate program.
See Also: Read the Legislation (via Congress.gov)