In our January call-to-action to the president and his team, we called out technology as one of the key areas to tackle post-pandemic to rebuild the economy. Today, access to technology stands in the way of achieving the American dream. And, equity must be consciously addressed in everything we do. We are thrilled that Congress recently passed the Emergency Broadband Benefit – now the social sector needs to help spread the word. The Emergency Broadband Benefit is a new, first-come-first-served FCC program to help families and households struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. This new benefit will connect eligible households to jobs, critical healthcare services, virtual classrooms and so much more.
Here are the details to share with your eligible clients ASAP:
- What: Provides a discount of up to $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households and a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer or tablet from participating providers if families contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.
- Who: Eligibility is determined by having ONE member of your household meet ONE of the following criteria: 1) Has an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid or Lifeline; 2) Approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year; 3) Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year; 4) Experienced a substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020, and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers; or 5) Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
- How: Apply now by contacting your preferred broadband provider directly OR going online to GetEmergencyBroadband.org to find a participating provider.
Nonprofits, government agencies and religious groups can help by becoming an outreach partner – the FCC has an amazing outreach page with toolkit materials, including newsletter blurbs, slides, flyers and PSAs, that can be shared with clients and congregations.
We hope you will help spread the word that the Emergency Broadband Benefit can help households struggling to afford internet service during the pandemic. We will keep you apprised of the latest to help us all collectively rebuild post-pandemic. But, please feel free to share information that you come across that might benefit the greater social sector.