FCC Program Providing High-Speed Internet to Low-Income Families Now Taking Applications

Photo of a young family is showing their hectic lifestyle - busy morning they are spending together over dinning table, using computer and mobile phone while their toddler boy is with them.
AleksandarNakic / Getty Images

Starting today, Americans who have a hard time paying for high-speed internet access can apply for discounts through a federal government program that can chop as much as $75 off monthly broadband bills.

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The Emergency Broadband Benefit, a $3.2 billion program from the Federal Communications Commission, covers $50 a month for high-speed internet service for eligible households and $75 for customers in Native American tribal areas, CNBC reported Thursday. The program also offers a one-time $100 subsidy to help applicants buy a new laptop, desktop computer or tablet.

National and local broadband providers are offering a variety of options so participants can get the services they need most. A list of providers and their services can be found here on the program’s website.

The benefit is available while funding lasts or until six months after the COVID-19 pandemic ends, CNBC reported.

On its website, the FCC said the program is designed to help families and households struggling to afford internet service during the pandemic, adding that access to the internet can help connect them to available jobs, critical healthcare services and virtual classrooms.

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The Emergency Broadband Benefit is limited to one monthly service discount per household. Eligible households must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Income at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or enrollment in certain assistance programs such as SNAP, Medicaid and Lifeline
  • Approved for benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or school breakfast program
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year
  • Suffered a substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough since Feb. 29, 2020, and had 2020 income at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers
  • Meets eligibility criteria for broadband provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 programs

To apply, you can contact your preferred participating broadband provider directly to learn about its application process. You can get a list of participating providers on the FCC website. Other options are to visit GetEmergencyBroadband.org to apply online or call 833-511-0311 for a mail-in application.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte MagazineStreet & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, will be published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
FCC Program Providing High-Speed Internet to Low-Income Families Now Taking Applications
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