May 12, 2021 marks the launch of the temporary, federal Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program. This program, overseen by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), is geared toward connecting more households to the internet at a time when we rely on digital connectivity more than ever before.
The $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit program, established by Congress last year in response to ongoing economic hardships caused by the pandemic, provides a temporary discount of up to $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households. The benefit also provides discounts up to $100 per household toward a one-time purchase of a computer, laptop, or tablet, if the household contributes more than $10 but less than $50 toward its purchase from a participating broadband provider.
Reliable and affordable access to the internet is essential for everything from telemedicine appointments to digital and remote learning. Youth living in both rural and urban parts of the state where access to high-speed internet is unreliable or unaffordable and, in some cases, unavailable entirely have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic — only exacerbating pre-existing inequities. The pandemic has continually shown us that broadband has become an essential resource in our daily lives.
Eligible households may apply for this short-term program, which will provide up to $50 monthly toward the cost of broadband service. A household is eligible if one member of the family meets at least one of the criteria below:
- Has an income at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid or the FCC’s Lifeline program
- Is 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 reduction in income through 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
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program
Additional information about the Emergency Broadband Benefit is available at www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit, or by calling 833-511-0311 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. ET any day of the week.
Eligible households will be able to enroll in the program to receive a monthly discount off the cost of broadband service from an approved provider. They can enroll through an approved provider or by visiting GetEmergencyBroadband.org.
Help spread the word about this program by utilizing resources in this outreach toolkit!