On April 29th, 2021, the FCC announced
that on May 12, 2021
, eligible households will be able to apply for the Emergency Broadband Benefit
. The Emergency Broadband Benefit is a temporary FCC program to help households struggling to afford internet service during the pandemic. 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.
Beginning on May 12th, households can apply in three ways:
- Contact your preferred participating broadband provider directly to learn about their application process.
- Go to GetEmergencyBroadband.org to apply online and to find participating providers near you.
- 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 7081
London, KY 40742
- This program is designed to help low-income households pay for broadband connectivity.
- Enrollment starts May 12, 2021.
- $3.2 Billion designated to assist households in paying for their broadband needs.
- It will provide a temporary discount on monthly broadband bills for qualifying low-income
households. Qualifying households will receive the following:
- $50/month for service and equipment rentals
- $75/month for households on Tribal land
- A one-time $100 discount for a laptop, desktop, or tablet
- Must be purchased through a participating provider
- Household must contribute more than $10 and less than $50 towards the device purchase
5 Eligibility Categories:
One member of the household must meet one of the following:
- Received a Pell Grant in the current award year
- Approved for benefits under the free and reduced school lunch or breakfast program in 2019-2020 or
2020-2021 school year
- Substantial income loss due to job loss or furlough since 2/29/2020 and household’s total 2020
income must be below $99,000 (single filers) or $198,000 (joint filers)
- Meets eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or Covid-19 program
- Member of household qualifies or is receiving benefits from the Lifeline Program
- Current Lifeline participants do not need to apply separately for FBB, they automatically are
eligible unless they choose a provider that uses an approved alternate verification process
- They will need to select a provider and plan to receive benefits
- Cannot be auto enrolled by current service provider, they must provide consent
before being enrolled
- You can receive Lifeline ("Lifeline" is a federal program that lowers the monthly cost of phone and Internet services) and EBB benefits at the same time (can be applied to same
qualifying service or separately to Lifeline service and EBB service with the
What is a Household?
A group of people who live together and share money even if they are not related.
- A household can qualify because of an eligible dependent child
- May have to answer questions about the household when you apply
- A household worksheet will be available to help determine eligibility (GetEmergencyBroadband.org)
Eligible households within multi-unit dwellings (ex: apartments, nursing homes, group home) can take
advantage of benefits
- Households within multi-unit dwellings where the landlord/property owner is the internet
account holder may be able to apply if they qualify
- If the household has a bill or other liability for broadband access that someone else is helping to
pay, they can switch temporarily to using EBB support to pay instead of a 3rd party support
- The FCC is working to make this available as soon as possible and enrollment is expected to begin
soon with a single start date across all states and territories
- The program will end when the program funds are exhausted or six months after the Department of
Health and Human Services declares an end to the pandemic, whichever is first
- The program will be administered by USAC
- They will also administer Lifeline, host the application portal, and the
- To avoid bill shock when the temporary program ends:
- Providers must give notice about the last date or billing cycle that the full benefits will apply
to and the date or billing cycle the partial benefits will apply to in addition to information
about the cost after the program ends.
- Households will need to opt-in to continue broadband service after the benefit program ends
with the service provider. If they don’t, the service will end when the program ends, even if
they had service with the provider before EBB
- Eligible households cannot be excluded based on prior debt with the service provider.
- Consumers can change to another participating provider at any time. However, the device discount
can only be used once by a household, even if the household changes providers.
- The program is open to all broadband providers
- Both fixed and mobile providers have elected to participate
- To find the list of participating providers, visit www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit
- Not all providers plan to offer connected devices, currently 10% of over 600 have elected to do