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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 11, 2021
Contact: National Consumer Law Center: Jan Kruse ([email protected])

Program aims to bring affordable broadband internet service to low-income households

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Tomorrow, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will launch the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, a temporary FCC program to help families and households struggling to afford broadband internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. Advocates at the National Consumer Law Center applaud implementation of the program and encourage consumers struggling to afford broadband internet service to review eligibility criteria and enroll as soon as possible.

“The COVID-19 pandemic shines a light on a harsh reality for low-income consumers, particularly in communities of color–broadband internet is essential but unaffordable,” said Olivia Wein, staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center. “Thanks to the hard work of public interest organizations, industry, and bipartisan support in Congress, the FCC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit program will help narrow the broadband affordability gap for low-income households in the short-term, but a permanent affordability solution is urgently needed.”

The Emergency Broadband Benefit is limited to one broadband service benefit and one device benefit per household and provides eligible households:

  • Up to $50/month for broadband service;
  • Up to $75/month for households on qualifying Tribal lands; and
  • A one-time connected device benefit of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet purchased through a participating provider if the household contributes more than $10 but less than $50 toward the purchase price.

Who’s Eligible?

A household is eligible if a member of the household:

  • Participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, or Lifeline;
  • Receives benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, or did so in the 2019-2020 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’s income for 2020 was at or below $99K for single filers or $198K for joint filers;
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating broadband provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program; or
  • If the household has an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

Three Ways to Apply

  1. Contact your preferred participating broadband provider directly to learn about their application process.
  2. Go to GetEmergencyBroadband.org to apply online and to find participating providers near you.
  3. Call 833-511-0311 for a mail-in application, and return it along with proof of eligibility to: Emergency Broadband Support Center, P.O. Box 708, London, KY 40742.

Find more information in NCLC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit Program fact sheet.  Additional program resources and Consumer FAQ’s are available at: EBBHelp.org.