The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, appropriated $3.2 billion to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to design a program to help low-income households pay for broadband service and connected internet devices.
The FCC established the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program, which provides a discount of up to $50 per month for broadband services to eligible households and an enhanced support of up to $75 for households who live on qualifying Tribal lands.
The EBB benefit is temporary and will expire when funds are exhausted or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declares the end of the COVID-19 health emergency.
Description of EBB
The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program provides a discount of up to $50 per month for broadband services for eligible households. Households who live on qualifying Tribal lands can receive enhanced support of up to $75 per month toward broadband services. The participating broadband service provider will receive the funds directly from the EBB program.
In addition, the program provides a one-time discount of up to $100 for one laptop, desktop computer, or tablet purchased through a participating provider (click here for NY providers). This one-time discount requires a consumer co-payment of more than $10 and less than $50.
Qualifying for EBB
To qualify for the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) a household must contain a member who meets of the following criteria:
- Qualifies for the Lifeline program;
- Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
- Experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020 and the household’s total income was below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers in 2020;
- Received approval for 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;
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program, and that provider received FCC approval for its eligibility verification process.
Applying for EBB
Beginning May 12, 2021, eligible households will be able to enroll in 3-ways:
- Online via the Lifeline National Verifier, https://getemergencybroadband.org. Documents can be uploaded to the system. Online applications can be saved and resumed by creating an account.
- Through an approved provider
- By mail, application in English or Spanish.
Complete the application and send with proof of eligibility to:
Lifeline Support Center
P.O. Box 7081
London, KY 40742
For more information visit the FCC’s website.
A FAQ is available at https://www.fcc.gov/consumer-faq-emergency-broadband-benefit.