FCC Launches Temporary Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

As of May 12, recipients of Federal Public Housing Assistance and other qualifying households can apply for the temporary Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBBP) to receive a monthly discount on internet access, as well as a one-time discount on equipment. The Federal Communication Program (FCC) program offers $50/month off of broadband service, $75/month off of broadband service on Tribal land, and a one-time discount of $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop, as long as consumers pay between $10-$50. The program pays internet service providers directly, sending discounted bills to participants.

Recipients of Federal Public Housing Assistance are eligible, as are families with income at or below 135% of federal poverty guidelines. Households also qualify if any member of the household:

  • Qualifies for Lifeline. Recipients of Lifeline qualify automatically, and can receive both benefits simultaneously.
  • Participates in Supplemental Nutrition Insurance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Veterans Pension and Survivor Benefits.
  • Participates in Tribal programs (Tribal Head Start, Tribal TANF, or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations).
  • Receives Free or Reduced-Price Lunch in 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year, or received a Pell Grant in the current year.
  • Experienced a substantial loss of income after February 29,2020. Total household income must be no more than $99,000 for single tax filers, and $198,000 for joint tax filers.
  • Already participates in a low-income or COVID-19 program with their internet service provider.

The EBBP limits families to one monthly broadband discount and one device discount per household, defined as people living together who also share money. This is a temporary program, which will end either when funding is exhausted or six months after the Department of Health of Human Services (HHS) announces the end of the COVID-19 emergency.

To apply, see more here.

Not all internet service providers are the participating in the program, so after an application is approved, enrollees need to sign up through a participating provider. Enrollees should be careful not to sign up for programs that will shift them onto more expensive plans that will remain in place after the program ends. To find participating broadband providers, see more here.

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