Internet Subsidy Gives $50 A Month Discounts For Low-Income Americans : NPR

The pandemic has underscored the importance of having a reliable internet connection, where adults depend on it for work and young people depend on it for education. Nam Y. Huh / AP Hide caption

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Nam Y. Huh / AP

The pandemic has underscored the importance of having a reliable internet connection, where adults depend on it for work and young people depend on it for education.

Nam Y. Huh / AP

Financially troubled American families are now eligible for an emergency discount on their internet service under a COVID-19 relief program that went into effect on Wednesday.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program The Federal Communications Commission 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. Low-income families also get a $ 100 discount off the purchase of a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet. However, according to the FCC reports, Cox and Windstream are the only vendors to have had this benefit to date.

The pandemic has underscored the importance of having a reliable internet connection, where adults depend on it for work and young people depend on it for education. The expansion of high-speed Internet access is a priority for the Biden administration, which Vice President Harris has commissioned to carry out the project. The White House has asked Congress for $ 100 billion to make broadband more affordable and to bring it to rural areas left behind by advances in technology.

“High-speed Internet services are critical for families to take advantage of today’s health, education and job opportunities,” said Jessica Rosenworcel, acting chairman of the FCC, in one Statusment. “And the discount on laptops and desktops will continue to have a positive impact after this temporary discount program is completed.”

The $ 3.2 billion temporary pandemic grant was approved by Congress late last year, but it has taken months for the FCC to finalize the program rules.

Only those Americans who already qualify for free and discounted school feeding programs, are recipients of a federal Pell Scholarship, have had a significant loss of income since early 2020, or who meet the eligibility criteria for the existing low-income or COVID-19 programs of the participating provider programs can qualify for the benefits apply for. People can access the funds until the money is gone or up to six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares the end of the pandemic.

Earlier this week the FCC approved the Emergency Connectivity FundThat will allocate nearly $ 7.2 billion to help schools and libraries provide equipment and connectivity for students, school staff and library users during the pandemic.

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