You may be eligible for one $ 50 monthly discount for coronavirus pandemics on your home broadband bill from Wednesday.
The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program was part of the roughly $ 900 billion COVID-19 aid package passed by Congress in December 2020 and signed by President Donald Trump. US $ 3.2 billion was allocated to the Federal Communications Commission to fund the program.
Internet connection was vital during the coronavirus pandemic more Americans worked from home and more students participated Home school. “We all know that Internet access is essential for modern life,” said Acting Chairwoman of the FCC, Jessica Rosenworcel, on Wednesday. “This pandemic has made it clear that broadband is no longer nice to have, but is necessary for everyone everywhere.”
What is the broadband benefit of the FCC?
The Broadband emergency service Offers a discount of up to $ 50 per month for broadband services for eligible households and up to $ 75 per month for households in eligible tribal areas. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $ 100 to purchase a laptop, desktop, or tablet from participating vendors when they have more than $ 10 and less than $ 50 in purchase contribute.
Registration for the program begins on May 12th. Every eligible household can receive a monthly service discount and a device discount.
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How do I know if I am eligible for broadband service?
You qualify for the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) if you also qualify for the Lifeline program, the program that helps low-income Americans acquire broadband access. You will also qualify if you participate in Medicaid or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Any household with an income of 135% or less federal poverty guidelines is entitled, as well as those in the free and reduced-price school lunch program and school breakfast program. Also Eligible: Those who have had a significant loss of income since February 29, 2020 and are at or below $ 99,000 for single applicants and $ 198,000 for joint applicants.
The Department of Education will reach 6.5 million Pell Grant recipients to inform them of their eligibility for the discount, Education Minister Miguel Cardona said in a joint press conference with Rosenworcel on Wednesday.
Likewise, schools and districts participating in free and discounted breakfast and lunch programs would be informed that students and families are eligible.
“It is critical that, as we are thinking about recovering and rebuilding, we make sure that we are closing the digital divide that has kept so many of our students from accessing so many of our students, not just in our higher education sector, but in our pre-K-12 levels, “said Cardona.
If you are behind on your current broadband bill, you may still be eligible for the benefit. Providers are not allowed to rule out whether you have a short-term debt or an overdue debt on your account.
How do I sign up?
First of all, you can visit the Get Emergency Broadband Site More information on how to take advantage of this. Soon there will also be a search function to find providers in your area.
You will also find out which documents you need to prove your authorization, e.g. B. a tax return, a social security return and a vacation notice.
Online and printable applications will be available on the Get Emergency Broadband website next week.
Some providers like Q-Link are already registering consumers. The FCC has one national list of participating companies. If you’re not on a program like Lifeline, you should contact the companies directly. AT&T, for example, has an EBB site;; It is planned to offer the discount on AT&T Mobility and Cricket Wireless as well as AT&T Internet.
Beneficiaries do not receive the money directly. Your provider receives the money to cover the discount directly from the EBB.
How long will broadband use last?
The program ends when the money is used up or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares the end of the COVID-19 health emergency, whichever comes first, the FCC said.
Once people start applying, the agency will evaluate the number of households and the amounts paid out to project the length of the program – and publish their projections.
Check which plan you are signing up for to make sure you can afford it when the programs end, as participating households will need to sign up to continue receiving services from their chosen provider. When the program ends, you will be charged the general monthly rate.
Participants must be notified at least 60 days prior to the end of the program, and providers must give participants at least 30 days notice before they will be charged a higher monthly bill without a discount.
A bill called “The” has been introduced in both Houses of Congress Accessible, Affordable Internet for All ActThis would expand broadband funding under a national plan to connect underserved and underserved communities to affordable high-speed internet access.
However, two Senators, John Thune (RS.D.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) Want the Government Accounting Office to review the EBB before any additional money is granted. “We believe that proper monitoring of this publicly funded program is vital so that Congress can thoroughly and carefully evaluate the benefits of the program,” said a letter to GAO Chief Executive Officer Gene Dodaro on April 29.
Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @ MikeSnider.