By Brandon Moseley

Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL07) announced that schools and libraries in Alabama can apply now through October 13th for additional funding from the American Rescue Plan’s Emergency Connectivity Fund to increase broadband services.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact Alabama’s schools and institutions of learning, access to reliable high-speed internet remains critical to the success of our students,” Sewell said. “I was proud to help make this relief available through the American Rescue Plan and I urge schools and libraries to take advantage of this funding to ensure our students have the resources they need to thrive.”

The Emergency Connectivity Fund Program, created by the American Rescue Plan and overseen by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will reimburse schools and libraries for the reasonable costs of eligible equipment and broadband connections used to help students, staff, and patrons who otherwise lack access to be able to engage in remote learning.

The state of Alabama already applied for $62,677,788.77 from the Emergency Connectivity Fund during the first application filing period this summer. The FCC reportedly expects to grant up to the full request pending a final review of those applications. Due to high interest in the program and additional funding still available, the FCC has opened a second application filing window for Alabama to request additional funds now through Wednesday, October 13th.

FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said that thousands of American school children are locked out of the virtual classroom because of a lack of internet.

“Millions of Americans are offline and millions more are struggling to pay for internet access,” Rosenworcel said.

The $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund will help schools and libraries support remote learning. According to the FCC, the program will provide funding to schools and libraries for the reasonable costs of eligible equipment and services that can be provided to students, teachers, and library patrons who lack connected devices such as laptop or tablet computers and/or lack broadband access during the pandemic.

Sewell is in her sixth term representing Alabama’s Seventh Congressional District.