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Rochester Public Library Receives Tech Grant to Help Residents Access Broadband


ROCHESTER, Minnesota (KTTC) – The Rochester Public Library has received thousands of dollars in funding to help people access broadband.

The money comes from the Federal Emergency Connectivity Fund program, sponsored by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Last week, the FCC announced the program’s first round of funding, totaling more than $ 1.2 billion for libraries, schools and other organizations across the United States.

RPL is one of 260 libraries nationwide and has received $ 619,000 in ECF funding to support the purchase of connected devices for people who do not have access to broadband connectivity.

Federal officials have said the program will help bridge the digital divide by ensuring individuals have adequate broadband access.

RPL director Audrey Betcher said the library will use the funding to purchase 1,000 Chromebooks with built-in Wi-Fi.

“The ECF program provides internet service and essential equipment to connect families to the educational resources they need,” Betcher said in a press release.

RPL partners with local organizations to distribute the devices.

“We are leveraging the expertise of our local nonprofits, our government colleagues and our schools to make sure we reach people with already identified needs,” Betcher said. “We expect demand to be high for these devices and by leveraging our partnerships we can be more effective in deploying the program.”


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