Applications have just opened for a $3.2 billion federal initiative to subsidize high-speed internet for low-income households.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program offers eligible households discounts of up to $50 a month for broadband service, and up to $75 a month if the household is on tribal lands.
The program, which launched in early May, also provides a one-time discount of up to $100 on a computer or tablet for eligible households. The program is the biggest one yet to help households nationwide afford broadband service, the FCC said in February, after unanimously voting to formally adopt the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program.
To be eligible, at least one member of the household must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Has an income that is at or below 135 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, or Lifeline.
- Approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program.
- Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year.
- Experienced a “substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough” since February 29, 2020, with a 2020 household income of $99,000 and under for single filers or $198,000 and under for joint filers.
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
The EBB is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household. Households that are eligible don’t automatically get the subsidy. There are four ways eligible households can enroll:
- Directly with a local participating provider. The FCC maintains a list of participating providers, sorted by state and territory. You can contact participating broadband providers directly to learn about their application process.
- Enroll online with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) at their website getemergencybroadband.org.
- Or download a paper application at the getemergencybroadband.org site, fill out the application, and mail it – along with supporting documentation – to USAC. The address is Emergency Broadband Support Center, P.O. Box 7081, London, KY 40742.
- Or call 833-511-0311 for a mail-in application.