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Millions in funding to expand broadband connectivity in Virginia

Virginia is getting millions of dollars in funding from a program that aims to expand broadband connectivity across the country.

The Federal Communications Commission committed more than $1.1 billion for 2,471 schools, 205 libraries and 26 consortia that had applied for support from the $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund Program.

According to a release, students, school staff and library patrons in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the American Virgin Islands will get access to the devices and broadband connectivity they need to support off-premises educational needs when combining this round of funding with the first.

To date, the FCC has committed more than $2.3 billion in funding to school and library applicants, and it exceeded a goal of responding to 50 percent of applications within 60 days of the closing of the first filing window by making decisions for nearly 60 percent of the applications it received.

“This new round of funding will connect even more students and library patrons with new tools for online learning and communicating with teachers in our ongoing work to close the Homework Gap,” said Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “We are providing resources for schools and libraries across the country, from tiny communities in Delta Junction, Alaska supporting Delta Community Library, to large school districts like New York City. Together with the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, the Commission is investing more than $10 billion to support America’s critical broadband needs.”

The release says the FCC announced a commitment of more than $1.2 billion last month to support the purchasing of laptops, tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and broadband connections to be used by students, school staff, and library patrons in need.

The money can be used to support off-campus learning as well, such as virtual classes.

Combined with the second wave announced this week, the funding is supporting more than 5.4 million devices and more than 2.7 million broadband connections.

This supports more than 5,400 schools, 461 libraries, and 29 consortia of schools and libraries.

In all, the full funding is providing nearly eight million students with the devices and Internet connections they need.

From both rounds of funding, Virginia is getting more than $48 million. New York is getting the largest chunk of funding at more than $401 million, followed by Texas at $215 million and Illinois at $158 million.

On the local level, Charlottesville City Schools is getting more than $68,000, Greene County Public Schools is getting nearly $100,000, Nelson County Public Schools is getting more than $233,000, Madison County Public Schools is getting $108,000, Louisa County Public Schools is getting more than $781,000, and Orange County Public Schools is getting $630,000.

A few individual schools and facilities are also getting funding: Charlottesville Waldorf School is getting more than $4,000, the Covenant School is getting more than $53,000, and the Orange County Public Library is getting more than $7,700.

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