New $3.2 billion internet discount program opens for consumers
Consumers in low-income households can sign up for $50 off their internet service as part of a new federal program starting Wednesday.
Why it matters: The Emergency Broadband Benefit program is meant to help families afford high-speed internet connections needed for school and work.
Details: The $3.2 billion program provides up to $50 off a month for internet service or $75 off for households on Tribal lands.
- The money will also cover a one-time discount of up to $100 to buy a laptop, desktop computer or tablet.
- The monthly discount is applied directly to the consumer's bill, with 825 broadband providers participating in the program.
What's next: Eligible households can sign up by contacting their provider or going to www.getemergencybroadband.org.
- Eligibility includes people who are at or below 135% of the federal poverty level or those participating in assistance programs including SNAP, Medicaid, Lifeline, relying on free or reduced price school meals or have received a federal Pell Grant.
- People who lost income during the pandemic due to job loss or furlough also are eligible.
What to watch: How long the temporary program will last is unclear, as it will end when the money runs out.
- Federal Communications Commission officials said providers will notify their customers at least 30 days before the funding runs out, and will get their consent before continuing service at a market rate.