On February 25, the FCC unanimously adopted a Report and Order that established the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, a $3.2 billion federal initiative to help lower the cost of high-speed internet for eligible households during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program was created by Congress in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. The Emergency Broadband Benefit is a temporary FCC program to help families and households struggling to afford broadband internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting May 12, eligible consumers can apply for financial assistance to defray broadband expenses.
Basics: The Emergency Broadband Benefit provides:
- up to $50/month discount for broadband service;
- up to $75/month discount for households on qualifying Tribal lands; and
- a one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet purchased through a participating provider if the household contributes more than $10 but less than $50 toward the purchase price.
The Emergency Broadband Benefit is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household.
Who is Eligible? A household is eligible if a member of the household meets one of the criteria as follows:
- has an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, or Lifeline;
- receives benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, or did so in the 2019-2020 school year;
- received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
- experienced a substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020; or
- meets the eligibility criteria for a participating broadband provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
Check out www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit for a Consumer FAQ and other program resources.
Three Ways for Consumers to Apply starting May 12
- Contact your preferred participating broadband provider directly to learn about their application process.
- Go to GetEmergencyBroadband.org to apply online and to find participating providers near you.
- Call 833-511-0311 for a mail-in application, and return it along with proof of eligibility to: Emergency Broadband Support Center, P.O. Box 7081, London, KY 40742
- What if my provider isn’t participating in this program? Providers are continuing to submit election notices, and the list is updated daily with approved providers. Visit GetEmergencyBroadband.org to find participating providers near you in the meantime.
- Will the congressional request for GAO oversight delay the program? The May 12 start date will proceed as scheduled.
- How do I request a speaker? Visit www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit and click on the button for a speaker.
- I have other questions? If there are any other questions, please feel free to let me know, or visit the consumer FAQs at www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit.
Emergency Broadband Program resources now include an ASL video.
You can find it on: https://www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit, or via the FCC’s ASL video library at: https://www.fcc.gov/asl-video-library. The video is directly available at the FCC’s YouTube Channel at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=ERrCGJlsFzw&feature=emb_logo.
All of this info is available by visiting www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit.