Vermont Business Magazine Vermonters may apply for the Emergency Broadband Benefit beginning Wednesday, May 12. The Emergency Broadband Benefit is a temporary FCC program to help eligible families and households struggling to afford broadband internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Emergency Broadband Benefit provides:
- Up to $50/month discount for broadband service;
- Up to $75/month discount for households on qualifying Tribal lands; and
- A one-time discount 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.
The FCC voted February 25, 2021, to formally adopt a Report and Order that establishes the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, a $3.2 billion federal initiative to provide qualifying households discounts on their internet service bills and an opportunity to receive a discount on a computer or tablet.
Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said: “Today the Federal Communications Commission made history. It adopted rules for the nation’s largest-ever program to help households nationwide afford broadband service. This $3.2 billion program was designed to lower the cost of high-speed internet service for those struggling to get the connectivity they need during the ongoing pandemic. It’s a challenge that is all too real for too many families.
“This is a program that will help those at risk of digital disconnection. It will help those sitting in cars in parking lots just to catch a Wi-Fi signal to go online for work. It will help those lingering outside the library with a laptop just to get a wireless signal for remote learning. It will help those who worry about choosing between paying a broadband bill and paying rent or buying groceries. In short, this program can make a meaningful difference in the lives of people across the country. That’s why our work is already underway to get this program up and running, and I expect it to be open to eligible households within the next 60 days as providers sign up and program systems are put in place. I have confidence in our staff that we will do this carefully, swiftly and the right way,” said Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.
The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program will provide eligible households with discounts of up to $50 a month for broadband service, and up to $75 a month if the household is on Tribal lands. It also will provide a one-time discount of up to $100 on a computer or tablet for eligible households.
Under the law, the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is open to households that participate in an existing low-income or pandemic relief program offered by a broadband provider; Lifeline subscribers, including those that are on Medicaid or accept SNAP benefits; households with kids receiving free and reduced-price lunch or school breakfast; Pell grant recipients; and those who have lost jobs and seen their income reduced in the last year.
Source: Vermont Department of Public Service. May 5, 2021. FCC February 25,2021