The second Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) Program Application Filing Window opens on September 28, 2021, and will close on October 13, 2021. This federal funding is for accredited public libraries to receive hotspots, lendable laptops, or Internet equipment and services for patron use outside of the library building.
Is ECF right for your library?
ECF does have requirements to be aware of:
- You must have an active FCC Registration Number, SAM.gov registration, and login to the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) to participate.
- To receive ECF funds on internet access, you must comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) which, among other things, requires filtering on all of the library-owned computers.
- If you want to avoid having to filter, however, libraries do not have to be CIPA-compliant to get ECF funding for hotspot hardware and computers as long as they aren’t receiving ECF for internet access. You would NOT be able to use ECF for hotspot service (cellular data plan), however, without filtering. Note: Patron-owned computers never have to be filtered.
- Patrons receiving a circulated hotspot/connected device purchased with ECF will need to receive an eligible use policy from you and must sign and return a statement that says they lack the connectivity support at home.
- You need to maintain inventories of devices and services purchased with ECF support. Examples of what the inventories must include are: (a) device type, and; (b) name of the person the device was loaned to and the dates the device was loaned and returned.
- You must also maintain a record of the services purchased including: (a) type of service (e.g.,cable, fiber, wireless), (b) upload and download speeds; and (c) name of the person who received the service.
- You must retain records for at least 10 years from the last date of service or delivery of equipment funded by the ECF. This appears to mean that the information collected in the above Certification of need (# 2 above) and Inventories sections must be retained for 10 years.
- You are prohibited from selling or transferring equipment for three years after its purchase. After this, equipment may be sold, transferred, disposed of, donated, or traded.
If you have additional questions or need assistance, please reach out to TSLAC’s library technology consultant Henry Stokes (firstname.lastname@example.org).
What is your library’s experience with ECF so far?
The American Library Association is seeking information about the library experience with the FCC’s Emergency Connectivity Fund program. If your library applied for ECF funding, strongly considered applying but did not apply, or is considering applying in the second application window (September 28- October 13) please fill out this short survey. Responses are anonymous and it should take less than 10 minutes to fill it out. ALA will use the aggregated data in their advocacy efforts with the FCC to seek improvements to the ECF program.
Please take a few minutes and fill out the survey. Deadline for responding is Wednesday, October 6.
Take ALA’s ECF Survey