Eligible Americans can apply for $50 off their monthly internet bill as part of an emergency government program that went to effect on Wednesday to keep people online during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Emergency Broadband Benefit is a $3.2 billion program that is part of the $900 billion pandemic-relief package passed in December, and is a response to work, school and health care moving online, The Associated Press reported.
The Federal Communications Commission program provides a temporary discount on monthly broadband bills for low-income households, according to its website.
Eligible households can receive up to a $50-a-month discount on internet service and equipment rentals. The discount is bumped up to $75 a month if the household is on “qualifying Tribal lands,” the website says.
Eligible households also can receive a one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet or desktop computer.
Eligibility requirements include a household income at or below 135 percent of the federal poverty guidelines as well as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefit recipients.
People who experienced a significant loss of income after Feb. 29, 2020, are also eligible.
This includes households with a 2020 income at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers.
In 2019, almost 65 percent of households made less than $100,000, according to Statista.
Anyone who received a federal Pell Grant as well as benefits through the free and reduced-price school lunch program is also eligible.
The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBBP) provides eligible homes with a discount on household’s internet bills, so they don’t have to decide between purchasing broadband & other necessities as they work & learn at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.https://t.co/c8Ykf7itmG pic.twitter.com/KYlCGYIu6W
— Rep. Madison Cawthorn (@RepCawthorn) May 13, 2021
The temporary program can be used in addition to the FCC’s other affordability program, Lifeline, which subtracts $9.25 a month from phone or internet bills, according to the AP.
The Biden administration has proposed an additional $100 billion plan to keep Americans connected.
“Americans pay too much for the internet — much more than people in many other countries,” reads the plan, which is part of President Joe Biden’s proposed $2.3 trillion infrastructure package.
“The President is committed to working with Congress to find a solution to reduce internet prices for all Americans, increase adoption in both rural and urban areas, hold providers accountable, and save taxpayer money,” it says.
The plan pushes for greater competition among internet companies.
The FCC also approved a $7.2 billion program this week for schools and libraries to help students connect to the internet in their homes, the AP reported.
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