FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel has proposed rules to the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBBP) to assist low-income households.
Late in 2020, Congress authorized the creation of a $3.2 billion federal initiative to help low-income households stay connected via discounts to their internet bills. Qualifying households may also receive a discount on a computer or tablet. The initiative is especially important during the pandemic, when record numbers are working from home or engaging in remote learning.
The EBBP allows for households to received up to $50 per month off of their broadband bill, while those on Tribal lands may receive up to $75 per month.
“As we work our way through a pandemic that has upended so much in our day-to-day life, we have been asked to migrate so many of the things we do online. From work to healthcare to education, this crisis has made it clear that without an internet connection too many households are locked out of modern life. It’s more apparent than ever that broadband is no longer nice-to- have. It’s need-to-have,” said Rosenworcel. “But too many of us are struggling to afford this critical service. Late last year Congress directed the FCC to establish a new Emergency Broadband Benefit Program to assist families struggling to pay for internet service during the pandemic. Today I’m proud to advance a proposal to my colleagues to implement this program so we can help as many eligible households as possible. No one should have to choose between paying their internet bill or paying to put food on the table. With the help of the Emergency Broadband Benefit, we have a new way for households to access virtual learning, for patients to connect to telehealth providers, and for those struggling in this pandemic to learn new online skills and seek their next job.”