The Federal Communications Commission has announced the first slate of internet service providers accepted into its Emergency Broadband Benefit Program.
Thus far approximately 319 providers offering broadband service in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and half of U.S. territories will participate in the Program. These providers have voluntarily opted to participate in the Program and will offer broadband supported by the federal benefit to households.
Today’s announcement represents the first wave of accepted providers and the agency anticipates that additional providers will sign up to participate in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program.
“Ever since the FCC adopted rules for the nation’s largest-ever program to help households nationwide afford broadband service, agency staff has been hard at work providing interested providers with guidance to participate in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. This $3.2 billion program was designed to lower the cost of high-speed internet service for those struggling to afford broadband connectivity during the ongoing pandemic and I’m proud of the progress we’ve made in onboarding more than 300 providers into the program. There are more to come. Every day we are approving additional interested providers, developing the program systems to make it available for consumer sign-up, and working hard to ensure that eligible households most at risk of digital disconnection can soon take advantage of this benefit,” 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.