Provide the Resources Your Community Needs to Stay Connected
The Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) is a one-time federal government program for public schools and all types of libraries to keep students, staff, and patrons connected during the current health crisis. Applicants can receive funding to obtain devices and services to provide remote connectivity outside the school or library.
The website EmergencyConnectivityFund.org has trainings, webinars, and access to the application process.
Libraries can ask the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) questions at their Customer Support Number, 800–234–9781
Application Window Closes August 13
Libraries will need a SAMS number to participate
Search SAM.gov to see if your organization is already registered in SAMs. Get into SAMs, create an account and do a keyword search for your city or library. You don’t need to re-register if you already have in the past. You can apply for the Emergency Connectivity Fund before your SAM.gov registration is approved, but you won’t be able to get funding until it has been processed.
If you already do E-rate, USAC used your Erate Productivity Center (EPC) info and login credentials to make your ECF account.
What is ECF and Why Ask for Funds?
For schools it’s about bridging the Homework Gap. For libraries it’s the Connectivity Gap. The main purpose is to help schools, tribes and libraries offer internet or connected devices to those who are off-site and need it. The ECF will reimburse 100% (for reasonable costs) to get eligible equipment and services.
The filing window closes August 13. Funding will cover July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022. There’s no bidding requirement. Libraries will use their local and state procurement rules. This is a one-time program, separate from E-rate.
Libraries can ask for reimbursement before paying. This should help libraries that are unable pay up front. Reimbursement preference will be up to the vendor.
Public, tribal, and academic libraries are eligible, as are public elementary and secondary schools. See School and Library Eligibility.
Hotspots, modems, AirCards, routers, laptops, tablets. Libraries can ask for up to $400 each for laptops and tablets and $250 each for hotspots. There’s no maximum amount of funding to request.
Broadband to connect those who are otherwise not connected.
Use is for Off-Site
Various sites off library grounds are eligible, like community centers or homeless shelters, and others. The services or devices are not for people to use in the library only.
For people to get library services—like eBooks, online reference and information, anything the library offers, not just for education. Libraries don’t have to track how people are using the equipment or services and the FCC isn’t checking up on them to see.
Eligible Use Policy
Libraries need an Eligible Use Policy that they give to users. It should say that equipment and services (funded with ECF) are for those who don’t have enough internet access to meet their needs. The policy should explain that “the equipment or service is intended for library patrons who do not otherwise have access to equipment or services sufficient to meet the patron's educational and information needs.”
Library users must sign and return a statement that the library user “would otherwise lack access to equipment or services sufficient to meet the patron's educational needs if not for the use of the equipment or service being provided by the library.”
Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) will apply in most cases. Libraries will also have to keep records and documentation for 10 years.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission's OK-ECF program is offering opportunities to schedule an online personal meeting to better understand the ECF eligiblity standards and application process.