The US federal government is creating a new initiative with $3.2 billion dollars to help low-income families afford high-speed internet. It’s similar to the Lifeline Program that provides subsidies for phone lines and plans which has already helped millions of Americans communicate. The program is born out of the Covid-19 Pandemic Relief Law which congress passed last year.
825 providers from the states have already signed up to provide subsidized services, from giants such as Comcast or AT&T, and smaller brands like Boost Mobile. This act is also expected to create growth for the companies that will join in since they get more subscribers that they weren’t able to reach before. It will pave ways for upgrades to infrastructure and quality of service, so even those who do not need the benefit will gain something such as better service speeds or stability.
What the Emergency Broadband Benefit program will provide is a $50 subsidy to high-speed internet plans or subscriptions. Of course, your household must be eligible under some criteria, just like with the Lifeline Program. $50 is a huge chunk of cash, so it’s obvious that companies will compete over each qualified customer when it starts.
The primary criteria for eligibility into the Emergency Broadband Benefit are if you lost a job or a significant amount of income last year. Likewise, Citizens who are already participating in other aid programs such as Medicaid, Pell grants, and even the Lifeline Program itself are eligible. However, those who live on tribal lands or belong to tribal groups get bumped up to $75 from the original $50 subsidy.
However, researchers have estimated that the $3.2 billion will only likely last up to six months since the population of users who will qualify has drastically risen. Biden administration officials have stated that the Covid-19 relief efforts will need more funding to keep things afloat. Democrats in Congress are already proposing to add more funds to the program as it goes along.
The money to be used is part of an already existing $94 billion plan to expand broadband service in the U.S. for households that can’t afford or do not have access to them. President Biden himself has already proposed $100 more in new funding for infrastructure which will reduce cost for consumers.
The FCC also published a new ruling this week for a $7.17 billion fund for schools and libraries to help students and patrons get internet access. The money comes from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, and it can buy more than just fast internet since laptops, tablets, and hotspot devices are also included.
You can avail of the Emergency Broadband Benefit with a $50 subsidy (and $75 for tribal land residents) now. it will also include a one-time discount of up to $100 for a new computer or tablet once you qualify. You can call (833)511-0311 or visit this link to start the process.