Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) Device Lending Program

By Camille T. RSS Tue, March 22, 2022

The Free Library has loaned over 11,000 Wi-Fi hotspots and tablets to residents of Philadelphia as part of the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) Device Lending Program. This program will remain funded through November 30, 2022.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) created the ECF which allocated 7 billion dollars to schools and libraries to help close the homework gap caused by remote learning during the pandemic. The library requested and received 5,650 Wi-Fi hotspots and 5,650 tablets (11,300 devices) to loan to Philadelphia residents. The funding for Internet and data services to the borrowed devices ends on November 30, 2022, though the devices can remain checked out to patrons.

The program has proven very successful, with all the tablets and hotspots currently checked-out. If you have checked out a device and need assistance, please call your local library or our helpline at 1-833-TALK-FLP (825-5357).

Below are resources to find free or affordable access to the Internet or devices in Philadelphia:

  • Digital Navigators provide dedicated support to households around accessing and using technology. Any Philadelphia resident who needs digital support can call the locations below to connect with a Digital Navigator.
    • Beyond Literacy

      Helpline: 215-426-7940
      Email: info@beyondliteracy.org

    • Drexel ExCITe Center

      Helpline: 267-217-3508
      Email: navigator@excitecenter.org


      Primary Helpline: 215-867-9732
      Secondary Helpline: 215-824-5725
      Email: digital@seamaac.org

      Live chat translation is available in Spanish. Interpreters are also available for most languages on helpline calls. When leaving a message, callers must include a request to be called back in their preferred language.

  • Connect with Tech at TechOwl is for individuals who do not have a tablet or computer and need access to health care services or have been unable to access health care services because of their location, disability, race, gender identity/sexuality, or income. For assistance applying, call 215-204-0101.
  • Affordable Connectivity Program is an FCC benefit program that provides a monthly discount toward internet service for eligible households. If you need to talk to someone about your eligibility or application status, call the ACP Support Center at 1-877-384-2575.
  • PHLConnectEd connects eligible pre-K–12 student households with access to free, reliable internet service through summer 2023. The program will also provide digital skills training and support. Call the 24-hour multilingual hotline at 2-1-1 for more information.
  • EveryoneOn can help you find low-cost offers to affordable internet service and computers by zip code and eligibility.
  • BroadbandNow shows plans, prices, and ratings for internet providers by zip code, helping you to find and compare internet options.

Have a question for Free Library staff? Please submit it to our Ask a Librarian page and receive a response within two business days.

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How do I get help with EFC
Patricia Louden - Philadelphia
Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Patricia, to receive help with an ECF device, please visit your local library or call our helpline at 1-833-TALK-FLP (825-5357).
ECF Program Team
Thursday, March 24, 2022

This is a wonderful provision! Hopefully those that need it will find out about it. Thanks for highlighting this on your site.
Peggy - Philadelphia
Thursday, March 24, 2022

Winnie Perry - Phila.
Saturday, June 11, 2022

Apply for E C F wifi access
Ronald Cianci - Philadelphia
Saturday, February 4, 2023

Since service for these devices ended November 29, 2023, how much do the residents have to pay through TMobile starting January 2024? Is there a discount? Why are residents forced to go to use TMobile, but not any other provider (when it doesn't belong to TMobile)?
Asti - Philadelphia, PA
Tuesday, December 19, 2023