The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has launched the Emergency Broadband Benefit program to help families and households that are struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. This new benefit provides a temporary discount on monthly broadband bills for qualifying low-income households to help them connect to jobs, critical healthcare services, virtual classrooms, and so much more.
How Does it Work?
The Emergency Broadband Benefit will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.
The Emergency Broadband Benefit is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household. The participating broadband service provider will receive the funds directly from the Emergency Broadband Benefit program.
Who Is Eligible for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program?
A household is eligible if a member of the household meets one of the criteria below:
- Income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, or Lifeline;
- Approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 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 and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers; or
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider's existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
Which broadband providers are participating in the Emergency Broadband Benefit?
Various broadband providers, including those offering landline and wireless broadband, will be participating in the Emergency Broadband Benefit. Depending on where you live, you may have a choice of providers. Check with the broadband providers in your area to learn about their plans for program participation and eligible service offerings. You can find a list of participating providers by state and territory on this webpage, www.fcc.gov/emergency-broadband-benefit-providers.
How can I sign up for the Emergency Broadband Benefit?
There are three ways for eligible households to apply:
- 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 copies of documents showing proof of eligibility to:
Emergency Broadband Support Center
P.O. Box 7081
London, KY 40742
After receiving an eligibility determination, households can contact their preferred service provider to select an Emergency Broadband Benefit eligible service plan.
Check out the Broadband Benefit Consumer FAQ for more information about the benefit to learn more consumer information.
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