The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched a temporary program to assist families and households who are struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. The FCC says this benefit was created to help with virtual learning, online jobs, and access to critical healthcare. Here’s what you need to know about the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) and how to get money for high speed internet for your household:
How much is it?
The benefit allows up to $50 a month, per household and $75 for households on qualifying tribal lands towards high-speed internet. The benefit also gives households a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer or tablet if they contribute between $10 and $50 towards the total cost. Participating phone providers like Assurance Wireless will also give families one free smartphone per household with free unlimited text, data, and minutes.
Participating providers by state can be found here and they include Comcast (Xfinity), CenturyLink, and many others.
Note: households will not receive these funds directly, they will go to the broadband service provider to pay for the bill.
Who qualifies for it?
If at least one member of the household qualifies for SNAP, Medicaid, or unemployment benefits, the household is eligible for assistance.
Other ways to know if you qualify for the program include:
- Your household has an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines
- You receive free or reduced-price school meals for your children
- You received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year
- You got furloughed or lost income due to job loss after February 29, 2020 plus a total income at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers
- You meet the criteria for a participating provider’s low-income or COVID-19 program
Only one member per household has to meet at least one of the criteria mentioned above to get the benefit.
How long does it last?
The EBB program will end when funds run out or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the COVID-19 health emergency. Participating households will be able to continue receiving broadband services from their provider after the program ends, but they will need to opt-in and start paying themselves. After the program ends, households that opt to stay in will be billed the broadband provider’s general monthly rate.
How do I apply?
There are three ways to apply:
- Contact a participating broadband provider directly.
- Visit GetEmergencyBroadband.org to apply online.
- Call 833-511-0311 to receive a mail-in application or print a copy.
After you apply and receive a notice that you qualify, you are responsible for contacting a participating provider to select your plan. If you are mailing in your application, make sure to include all copies of documents showing proof of eligibility and mail to:
Emergency Broadband Support Center
P.O. Box 7081
London, KY 40742
For more information, visit the FCC’s Frequently Asked Questions page.