American Rescue Plan: Broadband

Overview 

The American Rescue Plan provides $7.2 billion in new funding for public and private schools and public libraries to purchase Internet access and connected devices. A portion of this funding will go to schools and libraries in Washington state. Details are below. 

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E-Rate Support 

  • The American Rescue Plan provides $7.2 in additional funding through the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) universal service schools and libraries program (also known as E-Rate). 

  • This funding will be distributed to public and private schools and public libraries to purchase Internet access and connected devices (including hotspots, routers, modems and computers) for students, educators and library patrons who lack home Internet access, a connected device, or both. Schools and libraries would be eligible to purchase eligible services and equipment for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic plus at least one year. 

  • Schools and libraries will be reimbursed through the program for 100% of the costs associated with the eligible services and equipment. 

  • The FCC will likely issue rules regarding this additional funding in May 2021. 

You may also be eligible for relief provided by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 (COVID relief law) that Congress passed in December 2020. The FCC is currently establishing guidelines for an Emergency Broadband Benefit program, funded at $3.2 billion nationally. The program will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount to purchase Internet-connected devices. Interested households should visit the FCC’s website for the latest information.