Emergency Broadband Benefit Enrollment Exceeds 4M Households
FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel recently announced that over four million households have enrolled in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, the nation’s largest broadband affordability program to date. The $3.2 billion subsidy program initiated by Congress provides a temporary $50 to $75 discount on eligible households’ Internet bills during the duration of the pandemic.
Households can qualify for the temporary assistance in a number of ways, such as through the use of existing assistance programs like SNAP, Medicaid, Lifeline, or if a child received reduced-price school meals programs in the last two school years. The Emergency Broadband Benefit is also available to households who are eligible for a broadband provider’s existing COVID relief program, to those who have received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year, and to those low-income households who suffered a significant loss in income during the pandemic due to job loss or furlough since Feb. 29, 2020.
Over 1,100 broadband providers have agreed to take part in the Emergency Broadband Benefit program. The benefit is available to eligible new, prior, and existing customers of participating providers. Customers can sign up by contacting a participating provider or enroll online at www.getemergencybroadband.org.
Currently, the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed the Senate, sending Biden’s plan for roads, bridges, and broadband to the House. The bill allocates $65 billion to “bridge America’s digital divide and build a 21st century infrastructure that will meet our country’s needs not only today, but for years to come.” And the package includes $14 billion to extend and rename the current Emergency Broadband Benefit program, which began accepting applications in May to qualifying households. Under the current draft, the program would be renamed the Low-Income Broadband Benefit and the subsidy would be lowered to $30 per month. And the new program would last for five years.