Getting connected to the internet has never been more imperative than it is today due to the Pandemic, especially for those that are separated from loved ones. However, for some, the cost of broadband internet services is either impinging on their ability to pay for other needs or simply out of the question.
Well, help is on the way for those that qualify!
Thanks to the passing of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 of December 27, 2020, the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBBP) was established.
The EBBP will provide eligible households a discount of up to $50/month/household towards Broadband internet service and up to $75/month/household for those eligible on Tribal lands. In addition, these same eligible households can receive “a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute $10-$50 toward the purchase price. The Emergency Broadband Benefit is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household.”
Because of these discounts, connecting with loved ones via video and other internet-based connection methods will be possible for the first time for some people! I personally am so excited about this program for the people we serve!
“A household is eligible if one member of the household:
- Qualifies for the Lifeline program;
- 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;
- Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award 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; OR
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating providers’ existing low-income or COVID-19 program.”
According to the news release, the FCC hopes to begin the program by the end of April 2021.
Fact sheets and details of the original order are available on the FCC website. “For general information on the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, visit https://www.fcc.gov/emergency-broadband-benefit-program. For further information, please contact Eric Wu, Attorney Advisor, Telecommunications Access Policy Division, Wireline Competition Bureau at (202) 418-1543 or by email at Eric.Wu@fcc.gov. Individuals who use videophones and are fluent in American Sign Language (ASL) may call the FCC’s ASL Consumer Support Line at (844) 432-2275 (videophone). “