The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) this week launched the Emergency Broadband Benefit program, which aims to help families and households struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Emergency Broadband Benefit will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households. 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.
Who Is Eligible for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program?
According to the FCC, a household is eligible if a member of the household meets one of the criteria below:
- 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;
- 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.
How to Apply
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.
Get More Consumer Information
Which Broadband Providers Are Participating in the Emergency Broadband Benefit?
Various broadband providers, including those offering landline and wireless broadband, are participating in the Emergency Broadband Benefit. Find broadband service providers offering the Emergency Broadband Benefit in your state or territory.
Broadband providers can find more information about how to participate here.
As previously reported on Conduit Street, the Maryland General Assembly this year passed SB 824 / HB 1328 – Economic Development – Broadband Providers – Joint Trenching and Fee (Building Out Broadband Act of 2021), MACo’s Legislative Initiative that will help close the digital divide by enhancing incentives and orchestrating opportunities for broadband deployment across the state.