A Look Into the FCC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit Program
A new emergency Federal program providing Internet service discounts of $50/$75 a month for low-income households will start before the end of April. It addresses the need these households have for distance learning, telecommuting and telemedicine during the pandemic. The program was created by Congress in December and implemented by an FCC Order on February 26. It should interest municipalities, schools, churches, social service agencies and others dealing with households affected by the pandemic and which need robust Internet access. The program is of limited duration (until 6 months after the pandemic ends, or until $3.2 billion in Federal funding ends) so getting households signed up promptly is important.
We will describe the benefit ($50/$75 a month plus $100 for equipment) and the large number of households that are eligible: those with students receiving free/reduced price school meals during 2020 or 2021, SNAP (formerly food stamp) beneficiaries, and Medicaid participants as well as those getting Lifeline phone/Internet service, receiving Pell grants, or having been laid off/had a substantial loss of income since February of last year. Special additional rules apply to Tribal lands. Households will get the discounts directly from their cable, phone, cell phone or other Internet provider, with the providers reimbursed by the government. We will describe how to enroll for the discounts.
Speakers: John Pestle & Jonathan Kramer