Latest Stimulus Offering: $50 or More Off Your Internet Bill
The Emergency Broadband Benefit can put money in the pocket of many Americans. But the relief is temporary and limited.
The Federal Communication Commission has launched a program that gives a stipend of $50 or more to qualifying households toward their internet bill, aimed at helping offsetting the cost of high-speed internet service during the ongoing pandemic. The $3.2 billion emergency program is part of the $900 billion pandemic relief package passed back in December.
"Work, education, healthcare, and more have all migrated online," Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement. "As a result, it’s more apparent than ever before that broadband is no longer nice-to-have, it’s need-to-have, for everyone, everywhere."
Who is Eligible for the Emergency Broadband Benefit?
The core benefit is up to a $50 per month discount on broadband service and associated equipment rentals. That rises to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer (with a co-payment of more than $10 but less than $50) is also available.
The program is available to, among others:
- Homes that already participate in pandemic or low-income relief programs such as Medicaid
- Households with children receiving free or reduced-cost meals at school
- Households that had a "substantial loss of income" since Feb. 29, 2020
More detail on qualifying is available at https://getemergencybroadband.org/do-i-qualify/. More than 800 internet service providers are participating including, Charter, Comcast, Charter, and T-Mobile, according to the FCC.
How to Apply
There are three ways for eligible households to apply for the Emergency Broadband Benefit program:
- Contact your preferred internet service provider directly to learn about their application process.
- Go to GetEmergencyBroadband.org to apply online and to find providers.
- Call 833-511-0311 for a mail-in application.
But Move Quickly
In addition to having restrictions on who qualifies for the benefit, the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is, literally, a limited-time offer. The program will end when the fund runs out of money, or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the COVID-19 health emergency, whichever comes first.