The FCC released a new program to help families to afford their internet costs

The Federal Communications Commission has launched the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program to help families and households struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. This new benefit will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households. 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. The enrollment starts on May 12th and applications will be accepted on a first come, first served basis on qualified households.

Who Is Eligible for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program?

A household is eligible if:

  • Has an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines
Household/
Family Size
135% of Federal
Poverty Guideline
1$17,388
2$23,517
3$29,646
4$35,775
5$41,904
6$48,033
7$54,162
8$60,291

OR

  • if any member of the household (including child or dependent):
    • Qualifies for Lifeline benefits through participation in SNAP, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, Federal Public Housing Assistance, or Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit;
    • Received a federal Pell Grant in the current award year;
    • Received approval for 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;
    • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program, and that provider received FCC approval for its eligibility verification process;
    • Participates in one of several Tribal specific programs: Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribal Head Start (only households meeting the relevant income qualifying standard), Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF), Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations;
    • Experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020 with a total household income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers;

Households that already receive Lifeline benefits automatically qualify for the EBB program and can receive both benefits at the same time, for either the same or separate services. For more details on qualification go to https://getemergencybroadband.org/do-i-qualify/#

Duration of the program

The program will run until it either runs out of funds or 6 months have passed since the US Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the COVID-19 health emergency, whichever is sooner. It currently has a budget of $3.2 billion.

Which Broadband Providers Are Participating in the Emergency Broadband Benefit?

Various broadband providers, including those offering landline and wireless broadband, are participating in the Emergency Broadband Benefit. Find broadband service providers operating in Arkansas and offering the Emergency Broadband Benefit in your state or territory. The list will be updated as more companies join the program. You can only access to discounts through the providers in the list.

Broadband providers can find more information about how to participate here.

When Can I Sign Up for the Benefit?

As of May 12, 2021, eligible households will be able to enroll in the program to receive a monthly discount off the cost of broadband service from an approved provider. Eligible households can enroll through an approved provider or by visiting https://getemergencybroadband.org.

Check out the Broadband Benefit Consumer FAQ for more information about the benefit and please continue to check this page for program updates.

Consumer Outreach Toolkit

Outreach partners: The toolkit page includes a downloadable Emergency Broadband Benefit logo, social media images, fact sheets, and other sample outreach content and materials that can be customized and co-branded for consumer awareness campaigns.