FCC To Launch $7.17 Billion Connectivity Fund Program

New Program Provides Funding to Schools and Libraries Critical to Closing the Homework Gap

WASHINGTON—The Federal Communications Commission unanimously adopted final rules to implement the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program. This $7.17 billion program, funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, will enable schools and libraries to purchase laptop and tablet computers, Wi-Fi hotspots, and broadband connectivity for students, school staff, and library patrons in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Far too often, students, teachers, and library patrons lack the access they need to broadband and connected devices. This need has become even more apparent during these unprecedented times,” said Jessica Rosenworcel, Acting Chairwoman of the FCC. “Between this Emergency Connectivity Fund Program and the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, we are investing more than $10 billion in American students and households. These investments will help more Americans access online education, healthcare, and employment resources. They will help close the Homework Gap for students nationwide and give so many more households the ability to connect, communicate, and more fully participate in modern life.”

The Report and Order adopted today establishes the rules and policies governing the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program. The new rules define eligible equipment and services, service locations, eligible uses, and reasonable support amounts for funding provided. It designates the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) as the program administrator with FCC oversight, and leverages the processes and structures used in the ERate program for the benefit of schools and libraries already familiar with the E-Rate program. It also adopts procedures to protect the limited funding from waste, fraud, and abuse.

Recent estimates suggest there may be as many as 17 million children struggling without the broadband access they need for remote learning. The Acting Chairwoman has long made closing the Homework Gap a priority during her tenure at the Commission.

— Source: Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
Top photo: GettyImages


A D V E R T I S E M E N T

http://www.tabletsforteens.org

BDPA-DC Receives New Grant from Best Buy Foundation to Support Local Tablets-For-Teens Projects

WASHINGTON—The Best Buy Foundation has approved a grant to BDPA of Greater Washington, D.C. (BDPA-DC) in direct support of the association’s Tablets For Teens program.  Grant reporting and requirements for this next phase provide details on precisely how funds are used to support this rapidly emerging digital divide initiative.

BDPA-DC is supporting the following mission sets with Title-I schools across the National Capital Region collocated within our primary area of responsibility. Direct support includes distribution of free or low-cost computing devices to students and distribution of new cellular wireless hot spots to students with no broadband service at home.

This special grant also assists BDPA student members, students enrolled in National BDPA’s Student I.T. Education and Scholarship (SITES) activities, and local JROTC Cadets attending Title-I schools with new tablet PCs, notebook PCs, mobile hot-spots, or small single-board card-sized computers with accessories.  BDPA Student Members, Cadets, and local high school students may also receive community service hours supporting local BDPA SITES projects, webinars, technology events, and outreach activities with BDPA.

Best Buy has been a committed, valuable and engaged community partner and BDPA-DC enthusiastically looks forward to continuing our local, regional, and national relationships in the future.

BDPA Huntsville’s 2020 SITES Finalists receive new Samsung Galaxy Tab A tablets from the Association’s Tablets For Teens initiative after their technical showcase competitions during National BDPA’s 45th Anniversary and virtual BDPA2020 Annual Conference. Photo © 2020 BDPA Huntsville, AL. BDPA Detroit’s 2020 SITES Finalists are featured on our cover photo.

The association’s global mission as outlined by National BDPA is to bridge digital divides across cyber security, information technology (IT) and telecommunications competency gaps while broadening outreach and awareness campaigns for computer, data science, and technical careers. Since 1978, BDPA-DC’s projects across the National Capital Region support career development and economic development through well blended and tailored series of student programs, industry outreach, community relations, and legislative affairs primarily for urban and underserved communities. Tablets For Teens is another program under the Chapter’s SITES-IV (“Industry 4.0” SITES) portfolio. 

Additional information for the national capital region is provided on the following two landing pages, bdpadc.org or tabletsforteens.org.

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

Tablets For Teens • Earth Day Tech Summit 2021 • TabletsForTeens.org

Amazon Announces All-New Fire HD 8 Tablets for the Entire Family

Select here for exciting civilian careers in Tech or Cyber with the Department of the Air Force!

SEATTLE —  Amazon today announced the next generation of its Fire HD 8 tablet lineup, designed with the entire family in mind: the all-new Fire HD 8, Fire HD 8 Plus, and Fire HD 8 Kids Edition.

All-New Fire HD 8 Kids Edition: Built from the Ground-Up for Kids

The all-new Fire HD 8 Kids Edition includes the Fire HD 8 tablet with an 8” HD display, 32GB of storage with up to 1TB of expandable storage via microSD, up to 12 hours of mixed-use battery life, and USB-C for reversible charging. It also comes bundled with a kid-proof case with a new adjustable stand in blue, pink, or purple, a two-year worry-free guarantee, and a year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited—all for $139.99.

amazon-tablets_Fire_HD_8_All_ColorsWith Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, kids can enjoy over 20,000 premium, age-appropriate books, Audible books, educational apps, games, and videos on their Fire HD 8 Kids Edition, including new and popular titles such as Pinkfong Baby Shark, Sonic Dash, Descendants Junior Novel, and Barbie Dreamtopia from brands like Smartstudy, PBS KIDS, SEGA, and Mattel. Kids can also enjoy over 2,000 Spanish language titles, like Pinkfong! Car Songs, Plaza Sesamo, National Geographic Readers: Los Tiburones (Sharks), and Los Sentidos de Los Insectos.

Within FreeTime, kids can easily discover over 1,500 educational titles organized by core curriculum and extracurricular topics, such as math, science, exercise, art, and virtual field trips. In addition, for a limited time, families will also have access to additional premium content from HOMER and PBS Kids within FreeTime Unlimited. All of the FreeTime Unlimited content is kid-friendly and hand-selected by the Amazon FreeTime team with new titles added regularly.

“Over 20 million kids (and their parents) have enjoyed the award-winning Amazon FreeTime service and we’re excited to make it even better with new educational content that helps to keep kids learning and entertained,” said Kurt Beidler, Director of Kids and Family, Amazon. “The all-new Fire HD 8 Kids Edition is built from the ground up to offer the FreeTime Unlimited content kids love and the parental controls parents trust—all wrapped in a colorful kid-proof case with a two-year worry-free guarantee.”

Fire HD 8 Kids Edition comes with access to award-winning parental controls that encourage learning before play. With FreeTime, parents can manage their child’s FreeTime settings, such as the ability to set daily goals, age filters, and time limits for both weekdays and weekends. Parents can also use parental controls to choose what content kids can access and to add more content. These settings can be managed on the device or parents can visit Amazon’s Parent Dashboard to view daily activity reports and easily adjust their child’s FreeTime settings from any web browser, whether they’re on a mobile device or computer.

Availability

The all-new Fire HD 8 Kids Edition is available for pre-order now, starting at $139.99 at and will begin shipping next month on June 3. As an introductory offer, BDPA Members and Amazon customers who purchase two Fire HD 8 Kids Edition tablets together will receive a 25% discount.  Free subscriptions end after the first year; however, they can be used on any compatible device, including Fire tablets, Fire TV, Kindle, Echo, iOS, Chrome OS, and Android devices.

t4t-image4-bdpa_web

Tablets For Teens

To help local communities in advance of our next school year, discover more by partnering with local BDPA Chapters or visiting tabletsforteens.org.

“I.T.’s” happening!

— Sources: Amazon and BDPA

 

 


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