IE11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

400 Texas Libraries, Schools Receive Billions to Provide Devices, Connectivity

This is the third round of funding so far from a federal program that funds hardware and Internet services for educational purposes.

A range of dollar amounts will go to 400 K-12 schools and public libraries across Texas in the third round of the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF).

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released $230.8 billion total in the state, and 20.42 percent is allowed for services such as off-campus Internet. The remaining 79.58 percent is to be used for equipment, including hot spots, modems, routers, laptops and tablets.

The ECF is a $7.1 billion funding stream that is a part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Provided to schools and libraries, the monies can be used for a variety of connectivity solutions and connected devices. The funding was made available through the FCC and followed a similar grant process to the E-rate program, according to Industry Navigator.*

Fifty-one recipients will have access to more than $1 million each for equipment and services. The five recipients with the largest total amounts (rounded) are:
  • Harris County Public Library: $6 million for equipment, $10 million for services
  • Klein ISD (Klein): $13.8 million for equipment
  • Northside ISD (San Antonio): $10.3 million for equipment
  • International Leadership of Texas (Charter): $8.3 million for equipment
  • Austin ISD (Austin): $4 million equipment, $2.4 million for services

The lowest amounts (rounded) include:
  • Hallsburg ISD (Waco): $3,200 for equipment
  • Hull-Daisetta ISD (Daisetta): $3,000 for services
  • Clyde CISD (Clyde): $2,394 for services
  • Munday ISD (Munday): $1,573 for services
  • Nacogdoches Public Library (Nacogdoches): $900 for equipment

Recipient jurisdictions have plans to use money from last year's allocations.

Corpus Christi Public Libraries planned to purchase Wi-Fi hot spots for use by library card holders. They partnered with local housing programs to identify residents in need of connection after receiving a $2.4 million ECF allocation.

Laredo and United school districts (both in Laredo) planned to use funding to purchase hot spots, laptops, routers and school bus Wi-Fi, according to a press release.

The Rosenberg Library in Galveston planned to use $750,000 to purchase hot spots, Chromebooks and Internet service. The library director said in October that 15 percent of the city’s residents weren’t connected to the Internet.

Here is a searchable table of where the funds went:
Andrew Adams contributed to reporting this story. He is data reporter for Government Technology, sister publication to Industry Insider — Texas.

*Industry Navigator is a product of e.Republic, parent company of Industry Insider — Texas.
Rae D. DeShong is a Dallas-based staff writer and has written for The Dallas Morning News and worked as a community college administrator.