ECF Update and FAQs

May 26, 2021

Attached: ECF Order Summary Short

Attached: ECF FAQs (unofficial) 5-26-2021

The new Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) program is inching closer to the window opening in mid-late June and I hope that you are in the process of determining whether you will apply for funding to cover students/educators/library patrons that lack access to connected devices and/or Internet access to participate in remote learning while off-campus.  Several updates and clarifications:

FAQs:  I have compiled all of your ECF questions and my unofficial answers are in the attached FAQs.  The FCC and USAC will be releasing a series of official FAQs in the coming weeks.  Included in the FAQs are these recent, important clarifications:

Purchase Date:  Equipment/service may be ordered prior to July 1, 2021, but it may not be received and/or paid for until at least July 1.  Therefore, if you have already ordered equipment that you will want funded with ECF, be sure not to have it delivered and/or paid for until after July 1.

Prospective Reimbursement:  For applicants that cannot afford to pay 100% of the cost and then seek reimbursement, applicants may seek a “prospective reimbursement” from ECF after which they must pay the vendor within 30 days and then submit proof of payment to USAC.  To use this provision, services/equipment must be delivered prior to requesting the prospective reimbursement.

Internet on Buses:  Internet on student buses is eligible for both “parked” buses and buses transporting students.  For parked buses, access must be restricted to students (meaning it can’t be opened to the community at large).

Eligible Staff:  Connected devices and internet services used off-campus are limited to school staff who are involved directly with the education of students such as teachers and para-professionals and who qualify under the “needs” test.


ECF Webpage:  I will continue to post all of the ECF and EBB related information under the COVID-19 tab on the website.  Soon that tab will be changed to an ECF tab and will be organized into topics.

PAIU/PSU Off-Campus Device and Internet Survey: The PA Association of Intermediate Units (PAIU) and the Penn State Extension have teamed up to release a family survey to help schools determine whether families have access to a connected device and sufficient Internet access.  The survey results will also inform state and county leaders where Internet is not currently available so they can direct funding towards broadband build-out to those homes.  I will send a separate message with complete details about the survey, including how families without Internet access can complete it using a QR code.

I will announce another webinar in the coming days.  Stay tuned and please let me know what other questions you have that I haven’t address in the summaries or FAQs.

– Julie

Julie Tritt Schell
Pennsylvania E-rate Coordinator
717-730-7133 – o

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