The Federal Communications Commission today (5/12) kicked off the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this program will make available up to $3.2 billion worth of consumer discounts on broadband services and equipment like computers and tablets.
The FCC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit Program will make available to consumers substantial discounts on broadband service and computers. This pandemic-related program will continue until the $3.2 billion in federal funding runs out or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the pandemic.
Eligible households will be able to receive on their broadband bill a discount of up to $50 per month, or $75 on qualifying Tribal lands. They will also be eligible for a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.
Households can qualify through their use of existing assistance programs like SNAP, Medicaid, Lifeline or if a child relies on reduced-price school meals programs. The Emergency Broadband Benefit is also available to households who are eligible for a broadband provider’s existing 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 large loss in income during the pandemic due to job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020.
Over 825 broadband providers are taking part in the program. The benefit is available to eligible new, prior, and existing customers of participating providers.
Customers can sign up by contacting a participating provider, enroll online at https://getemergencybroadband.org/, or sign up via mail. To learn more or get a mail-in application, call (833) 511-0311.
The Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative encourages all communities working to become more age and dementia friendly to promote this to local older adults and families. AARP has a summary of the program and additional information here.