The Emergency Broadband Benefit is an FCC program to help families and households struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. Qualifying U.S. residents can take advantage of a new government program which gives a $50 monthly subsidy on your internet broadband cost (up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands). The subsidy are directly paid to your service provider. If your monthly bill is less than the subsidy, then you will not have to pay anything for your service as along as the program is in effect. Eligible households can also receive 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. You can see more qualification information here and these are the participating broadband providers.
A household is eligible if a member of the household meets one of the criteria below:
- Has an income that is at or below 135% 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, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year;
- 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 and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers; or
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
If you think you meet the qualification for a subsidy, you can apply here. If approved, then you will need to sign up for service with one of the participating broadband providers. If you already have service from a participating provides, you will need to call them to have the subsidy applied to your account.