Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) Device Lending ProgramBy Camille T. 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
- Drexel ExCITe Center
Primary Helpline: 215-867-9732
Secondary Helpline: 215-824-5725
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.
- Beyond Literacy
- 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 72 hours.