Are you eligible for the FCC's emergency internet discount program? Here's how to find out

More help is coming soon for the millions of Americans...

Posted: Mar 6, 2021 1:27 PM

More help is coming soon for the millions of Americans struggling to afford high-speed internet at home, which has become essential for school, work and many other areas of life during the pandemic.

Congress' December Covid-19 relief bill included $3.2 billion to help low-income Americans pay for broadband service, as the country continues its push toward recovery from the health and economic crisis. Last week, the Federal Communications Commission officially established the Emergency Broadband Benefit program, which will make use of those funds.

The program will provide discounts of up to $50 a month, or $75 on Tribal lands, for broadband service for low-income households. It also includes a one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop computer or tablet purchased from certain providers, which are yet to be named but are likely to include major wireless network operators, among others.

In an April Pew Research survey of American parents with children attending school remotely, 36% of low-income respondents said it was somewhat likely their children wouldn't be able to finish schoolwork because they lacked an internet connection at home. In the same survey, 43% of lower-income parents said it is very or somewhat likely their children will have to do schoolwork on their cellphones.

While experts say long-term solutions will still be needed to fully close the digital divide, the Emergency Broadband Benefit program could make major inroads in the coming months, a crucial time for economic recovery.

"This is a program that will help those at risk of digital disconnection," FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement last month. "It will help those lingering outside the library with a laptop just to get a wireless signal for remote learning. It will help those who worry about choosing between paying a broadband bill and paying rent or buying groceries. This is good stuff."

Registration for consumers are expected to begin next month. Here's how to know if you're eligible.

Who's eligible?

Households with at least one member who qualifies for the FCC's existing communications support program, Lifeline, will be eligible for the emergency benefit. Lifeline serves low-income Americans, including those on Medicaid and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

Households whose children receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or school breakfast program during the current or prior school year will also be eligible, as will federal Pell Grant recipients.

Households that suffered a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020, will be eligible if their total household income for last year fell below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers. The FCC will also provide the benefit to households that meet eligibility criteria for another low-income or Covid-19 discount program from a participating provider.

How will it work?

The FCC is still nailing down final details of the program, including participating providers and an exact start date. But it has shared some information on how it will work.

The commission says that many types of broadband operators can qualify to provide service in this program, regardless of whether they participate in the existing Lifeline program. That could open the door for more internet companies nationwide to participate in the emergency benefit program.

Participating providers will be reimbursed through the program for delivering broadband services or devices to low-income households. The FCC is in the process of establishing the systems needed for providers to participate.

Once enrollment begins, eligible households can register for the program directly with participating broadband providers or with the Universal Service Administrative Company, a non-profit designated by the FCC to administer funding for broadband connectivity.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 704632

Reported Deaths: 13211
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion961411718
Lake51322943
Allen39040670
Hamilton34368405
St. Joseph33865539
Elkhart27197431
Vanderburgh22050394
Tippecanoe21725212
Johnson17475374
Porter17240298
Hendricks16754310
Clark12663190
Madison12321337
Vigo12172244
Monroe11417166
LaPorte10841204
Delaware10325184
Howard9629211
Kosciusko9098113
Hancock7954139
Bartholomew7867155
Warrick7680155
Floyd7543176
Wayne6887198
Grant6773171
Boone6524100
Morgan6379138
Dubois6074117
Marshall5770108
Dearborn568576
Cass5678102
Henry5569100
Noble539383
Jackson492869
Shelby478295
Lawrence4336118
Gibson427789
Harrison427570
Clinton417753
Montgomery417286
DeKalb407984
Huntington377480
Whitley376339
Miami371765
Knox365789
Steuben363357
Putnam352360
Jasper347546
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White307854
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Wells285581
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Greene270485
Posey268433
Scott260853
Clay253044
LaGrange252170
Randolph234680
Washington230631
Spencer227531
Jennings224747
Fountain208245
Sullivan207542
Starke202652
Owen191956
Fulton190939
Jay185829
Carroll185620
Perry179736
Orange176753
Rush170624
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Franklin165635
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Parke144316
Blackford133331
Pike130234
Pulaski113245
Newton103034
Brown99740
Crawford97514
Benton96413
Martin82515
Warren79315
Switzerland7698
Union69710
Ohio55711
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1050112

Reported Deaths: 18991
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1219281356
Cuyahoga1067232069
Hamilton780741168
Montgomery49976996
Summit45252909
Lucas39984765
Butler37678570
Stark31385895
Lorain24111473
Warren23864293
Mahoning20869583
Lake19963362
Clermont19423229
Delaware18002130
Licking16109207
Fairfield15676197
Trumbull15553460
Medina14839259
Greene14643236
Clark13602293
Wood12733185
Portage12353196
Allen11312229
Richland11025198
Miami10525214
Muskingum8702127
Wayne8556209
Columbiana8535226
Pickaway8429121
Tuscarawas8370240
Marion8365135
Erie7554154
Hancock6694123
Ross6693146
Geauga6532146
Ashtabula6470165
Scioto6286101
Belmont5610158
Union557447
Lawrence5465102
Jefferson5303147
Huron5298114
Darke5268121
Sandusky5171120
Seneca5108120
Washington5073107
Athens500656
Auglaize475184
Mercer471184
Shelby455890
Knox4380108
Madison421559
Putnam420799
Ashland412688
Fulton409167
Defiance400896
Crawford3866101
Brown386055
Logan372876
Preble369898
Clinton360560
Ottawa356578
Highland346359
Williams324974
Champaign319257
Jackson307951
Guernsey306149
Perry289649
Fayette277348
Morrow274639
Hardin264164
Henry263566
Coshocton258857
Holmes253099
Van Wert238862
Gallia233346
Pike232931
Adams227852
Wyandot226953
Hocking208959
Carroll189147
Paulding168638
Meigs141538
Noble132837
Monroe128841
Morgan106623
Harrison105236
Vinton81414
Unassigned02
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