The internet has been essential for many years, but especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as families relied on their internet service to work, attend school, use telehealth services, and stay in touch with loved ones online.
However, due to the economic impact of the coronavirus, many families have understandably struggled to pay for internet service that they depend on every day.
To help Americans stay connected during COVID-19, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is launching the Emergency Broadband Benefit, a temporary program that will provide a discount on broadband and related internet services starting May 12, 2021.
Keep reading to learn more about the discount, qualifications, timeline, and application process of this new federal program.
How much is the Emergency Broadband Benefit discount?
The Emergency Broadband Benefit offers up to $50 on internet services and associated equipment rentals for eligible low-income households and up to $75 for households on Tribal lands. This benefit is limited to one monthly service discount per household, which is defined as any individual or group of people who are living together at the same address.
Who is eligible?
Your household is eligible for the Emergency Broadband Benefit if you meet at least one of the following criteria:
- You qualify for the Lifeline program.
- You receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch or breakfast program.
- You received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year.
- You experienced a substantial loss of income since Feb. 29, 2020, and the household had a total income below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers.
More information about eligibility requirements for the Emergency Broadband Benefit is available here.
How long does the program last?
The Emergency Broadband Benefit is a temporary program. After enrollment begins May 12, 2021, the program will run until program funds are exhausted OR six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the pandemic, whichever occurs first.