On Jan. 21, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), announced more than $88 million in American Rescue Plan broadband investments for Washington state schools and libraries.
The funding comes via the Federal Communications Commission’s Emergency Connectivity Fund, which commits federal funds to support schools and libraries in providing digital tools and services to communities harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Every child deserves the very best education we can offer them, but that’s not possible without access to high-speed internet,” said Murray in a written statement. “That’s why I fought so hard for this money in the American Rescue Plan, and it’s great to see it being put to good use. With more help on the way from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, I am determined to make sure every student in Washington state can get online and get the education they deserve.”
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which Murray helped pass, will also provide at least $100 million for broadband deployment in Washington state to help families access reliable, high-speed internet, with more federal dollars available through grant funding.
An estimated 19% of people in Washington state are eligible for the new Affordable Connectivity Program established under the legislation, which provides up to $30 per month in discounted internet service and a one-time $100 discount on internet-connected devices.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law also includes Murray’s Digital Equity Act, which is aimed at helping close the “digital divide” by funding activities that seek to provide individuals and communities with the skills, supports, and technologies necessary to take full advantage of a broadband internet connection when they have one.
Through the Emergency Connectivity Fund, students in Washington state who have experienced difficulty getting online will now have greater resources available to ensure they can access homework online and receive a high-quality education. Additional information on the Emergency Connectivity Fund program is available at: emergencyconnectivityfund.org.
School districts in King County that are slated to receive broadband funding include:
Lake Washington School District in Redmond with $2,466,240 of total obligated funding.
Northshore School District in Bothell with $1,353,951 in total obligated funding.
Issaquah School District with $1,020,000 in total obligated funding.
Auburn School District with $850,902 in total obligated funding.
Kent School District with $954,563 in total obligated funding.
Renton School District with $603,851 in total obligated funding.