The Federal Communication Commission has launched a program that provides an allowance of $ 50 or more to eligible households for their Internet bill, designed to help offset the cost of high-speed Internet service during the ongoing pandemic. The $ 3.2 billion emergency program is part of the $ 900 billion pandemic relief package adopted in December.
“Work, education, healthcare and more have all migrated online,” FCC Interim President Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement. “As a result, it’s more evident than ever that broadband isn’t more fun to have, it’s a need, for everyone, everywhere.”
The main benefit is up to $ 50 per month in rebate on broadband service and associated equipment rentals. This rises to $ 75 per month for households on qualifying tribal lands. A one-time discount of up to $ 100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop (with a co-payment of over $ 10 but under $ 50) is also available.
The program is accessible, among others:
- Households already participating in pandemic or low-income assistance programs such as Medicaid
- Households with children receiving free or reduced meals at school
- Households having suffered a “substantial loss of income” since February 29, 2020
More details on qualifications are available at https://getemergencybroadband.org/do-i-qualify/. More than 800 Internet service providers participate, including Charter, Comcast, Charter and T-Mobile, according to the FCC.
There are three ways for eligible households to apply for the Broadband Emergency Benefit Program:
- Contact your preferred ISP directly to learn more about their application process.
- Go to GetEmergencyBroadband.org to apply online and find providers.
- Call 833-511-0311 for a request by mail.
In addition to having restrictions on who qualifies for the benefit, the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is, quite literally, a limited time offer. The program will end when the fund runs out of cash, or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares the COVID-19 health emergency over, whichever comes first.