By John Eggerton, Multichannel News, 3-1-21

The just-passed $1.9-trillion COVID-19 relief bill (H.R. 1319) has, potentially, more than $17 billion in funding that could go to subsidize broadband, including a homeowners assistance fund states can tap to subsidize broadband for low-income residents during the pandemic. That is in addition to the $3.2 billion in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Congress approved last December.

As part of the massive bill, which must still be approved by the Senate, the FCC will have 60 days to set up an E-rate Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) of $7.6 billion (minus $1 million to pay for FCC Inspector General oversight of the program). The Universal Service Administrative Company, which oversees the FCC’s ongoing USF subsidy program, will administer the emergency fund, which will be kept separate from USF subsidies.  » Read More