The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program provides support for broadband services and certain devices to help low-income households stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On February 25th, 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 Report and Order along with the rules governing this program can be found here, but below are a few important facts:
What Is the Benefit?
- Up to $50/month discount for broadband services;
- Up to $75/month discount for broadband services for households on Tribal lands; and
- A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet purchased through a participating provider.
- The Emergency Broadband Benefit is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per eligible household.
Who Is Eligible for the Emergency Broadband Benefit?
A household is eligible if one member of the household:
- Qualifies for the Lifeline program, including those who are on Medicaid or receive SNAP benefits;
- Receives benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, or did so in the 2019-2020 school year;
- Experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020, and the household had a total income in 2020 below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers;
- Received a Federal Pell Grant in the current award year; or
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
When Can Eligible Households Sign Up?
- The FCC expects the Emergency Broadband Benefit program to be open to eligible households before the end of April, 2021. Please check the FCC’s website, fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit, regularly for the latest information.
How Will Eligible Households Sign Up?
- Eligible households will enroll through participating broadband providers or directly with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). Please check the FCC’s website, fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit, regularly for the latest information on the enrollment process.
What Broadband Providers Will Be Offering the Emergency Broadband Benefit?
- Many types of broadband providers can qualify to provide service in this program.
- The FCC is currently setting up the systems needed for providers to participate.
- Contact information for the providers participating in the program will be posted on USAC’s website: https://www.usac.org/.
The FCC is excited to partner with those who want to help get the word out about this critical program. Please visit www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit to sign up to receive important updates and information about the Emergency Broadband Benefit program