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After many students were denied access to the Internet to do their schoolwork remotely during the COVID-19 outbreak, Congresswoman Grace Meng announced on Friday, September 24, that schools in New York City have received millions of dollars in federal funding to connect students to the Internet.
In March, Meng and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) helped secure more than $ 7 billion in emergency E-Rate connectivity funding for schools to provide Wi-Fi hotspots, modems , routers, internet service, and internet enabled devices so that students can gain internet access during the COVID-19 crisis.
These funds include more than $ 192 million for schools in New York City and nearly $ 739,000 for some schools in the Meng District of Queens.
When the application period opened in June, Meng urged schools to seek funding.
“During the pandemic, we saw how crucial internet access has been for learning and completing homework. When learning at a distance, this was essential. It is unacceptable and unacceptable that millions of students across the country, many of them in New York, still do not have access to the Internet, and this lack of connectivity continues to be a barrier to academic success, ”said Meng. “Every student deserves to have the tools they need to be successful, and that includes the ability to connect to the Internet. “
Meng thanked and congratulated Jessica Rosenworcel, Acting Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairperson, and her team for supporting and administering the vital program.
“Too many children find it difficult to do without the broadband they need for their evening schoolwork. The homework gap is the cruelest part of our digital divide. But the FCC has new tools to fix it, ”Rosenworcel said. “Today, the FCC announced $ 1.2 billion in support from the Emergency Connectivity Fund will go to thousands of schools and libraries, many in New York City. I am grateful for Congresswoman Meng’s commitment to ensuring that 100% of us have the affordable internet access we need to be successful today, including our students.
Money from the E-Rate Emergency Connectivity Fund that Meng helped secure was included in the US bailout, the latest coronavirus relief plan adopted by Congressional Democrats and enacted in March by the president. Biden.
The first wave of funding that the FCC allocates under the program includes over $ 1.2 billion for over 3,000 schools and libraries to connect more than 3.6 million students to the Internet.
In July, Meng, Markey and Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) – along with other Senators and House members – introduced the Securing Universal Communications Connectivity for Student Success Act (SUCCESS) to leverage successful fundraising.
The money would extend the Emergency Connectivity Fund by providing $ 8 billion per year over five years – for a total of $ 40 billion – to continue to provide Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers and Internet-enabled devices to students after the COVID-19 crisis.