Closing the Digital DivideThe Closing the Digital Divide Initiative focuses on identifying needed resources and partnerships to support distance learning in California schools and equip all California students with computing devices and connectivity.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF)
A $7.17 billion federal government program to assist public schools and libraries in staying connected. The funds will be administered through the FCC and the E-Rate program. Applications can be submitted from June 29–August 13, 2021.
Schools and libraries across California that are eligible for support under the FCC’s E-Rate program can request and receive support through the ECF program. Tribal libraries eligible for support under the Library Services and Technology Act are also eligible for support under the program.
The following types of equipment purchased for off-campus use by students, school staff, and library patrons who would otherwise lack sufficient connectivity to engage in remote learning are eligible for support:
- Laptop and tablet computers
- Wi-Fi hotspots
- Modems (including air cards)
- Devices that combine a modem and router
How to Acquire Devices
- Acquiring Devices and Connectivity for Students (Updated 01-Feb-2021) - An overview of available purchase programs to assist schools in acquiring equipment and connectivity services for students. These are made possible through partnerships between the California Department of Education and technological companies
How to Get Internet Access: Available Plans for All
Internet For All Now: The California Emerging Technology Fund has provided access to affordable offers.
Visit the Internet For All Now web page for more information as well as a number to call 1-844-841-INFO (4636) to assist parents.
- Telecom and Data Companies Extending Services - A list of providers throughout the state who are extending special offers.
How to Donate
Task Force & Progress Made
This spring State Superintendent Tony Thurmond announced the creation of a new task force to close the digital divide for California students who lack access to resources such as internet connectivity and devices. The Closing the Digital Divide Task Force is co-chaired by California State Senator Connie Leyva.
Other Task Force Members include:
- Senator Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg)
- Assemblymember Cecelia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters)
- Assemblymember Autumn Burke (D-Inglewood)
- Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella)
- Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles)
- Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa)
- Digital Divide Task Force Connects School Leaders to Available Devices as Learning Resumes (Posted 05-Aug-2020)
- State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Announces Major Collaboration with Apple and T-Mobile to Connect Students in Need (Posted 05-Aug-2020)
- Digital Divide Task Force Identifies Resources, Partnerships Available to Support Successful Distance Learning in the Fall (Posted 23-Jul-2020)
- State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Calls on Private Industry Partners to Support a $500 Million Initiative to Fund Computing Devices and Internet Access for All California Students (Posted 29-Jun-2020)
- State Superintendent Tony Thurmond and Digital Divide Task Force Receive Update on Multiple Efforts to Expand Internet Access for All (Posted 22-Jun-2020)
- Digital Divide Task Force Works Toward Solutions to Inequitable Internet Access for Students (Posted 22-May-2020)
- Digital Divide Task Force Advocates for Students (Posted 05-May-2020)
- Digital Divide Task Force Calls for Free Internet for California's Students (Posted 01-May-2020)
- First Digital Divide Task Force Hearing (Posted 20-Apr-2020)
- Governor Newsom Announces Cross-Sector Partnerships to Support Distance Learning and Bridge the Digital Divide (Posted 20-Apr-2020)