The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program has Ended.
But you can still save money with the Affordable Connectivity Program.
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Emergency Broadband Benefit Program
During the pandemic, the US Government helped qualifying households by providing up to $50/month to help with the costs of broadband Internet connection through the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program.
However, the EBB program ends in early 2022. If you already receive help with your Internet bill through the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, don't worry. Households enrolled in the EBB program as of December 31, 2021 will continue receiving their monthly EBB benefit through March 1, 2022, and in most cases, they will be automatically transitioned to the new program, the Affordable Connectivity Program, although the benefit amount will be different.
How the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program Worked
Still, as essential as home Internet was and is, some individuals and families have struggled and continue to struggle to pay for Internet service. The Emergency Broadband Benefit program, a federal government program, was created to ensure home Internet could be had by everyone, regardless of their financial situation.
What was the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program?The Emergency Broadband Benefit is a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program that has been providing a temporary discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband Internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on Tribal lands.
The program launched May 12, 2021.
Who was eligible for the EBB program?
A household was considered eligible if one member of the household met at least one of the criteria below:
- Qualifies for the Lifeline program;
- Receives benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, or did so in the 2019-2020 school year;
- Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
- Experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020 and the household had a total income in 2020 below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers; or
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating providers' existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
FAQs about the EBB program:Will I get $50 in my bank account?
No. The way the provision works is that customers of a broadband service will receive a credit of $50 per month with their service provider. This is a fair and simple way to provide assistance to each qualified household. Note that many different service providers are participating in the program, including those offering landline and wireless broadband – you may find that there are several in your location. You can also find a participating Internet provider in the EBB program by entering your address on this page.
The assistance is provided per household, not per individual. So an apartment or residential property would receive one $50 discount payment, even if there were several people using the Internet connection.
This program was made available to new, existing, and prior customers of each broadband service. A debit balance with a service provider did not interfere with eligibility.
How long will the program last?
The program was planned to last until the $3.2B in Federal funding for it ran out. Currently, eligible households receiving the benefit as of December 31, 2021 will continue receiving it through March 1, 2022. However, a new program will take the place of the EBB program.
What is the program that’s replacing the EBB program?
The Affordable Connectivity Program will replace the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. This new $14.2B program is designed to address Internet connectivity needs for lower income households more long-term, while also increasing and improving broadband infrastructure throughout the U.S., including rural areas. During a 60-day transition period between the start of the Affordable Connectivity Program and the end of the EBB program’s subsidies, service providers will reverify some of the households receiving the EBB benefit qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program, but most households will simply transition to the new program. However, the subsidy amount will be $30 a month, rather than $50. If your household has not been receiving EBB benefits, you may still qualify for it and/or the Affordable Connectivity Program. You can find more information about enrollment and the application process at GetEmergencyBroadband.org.
Which broadband Internet providers have participated in the EBB program?
You can find a comprehensive list of all participating providers on the FCC website. Below are some of the broadband Internet providers participating in the program and direct links to their EBB page:
Optimum (including former Suddenlink)
How will I know the EBB assistance is ending?
Your participating provider must give you notice about the last date or billing cycle that the full benefit will apply to your bill and the date or billing cycle that a partial benefit will apply to your bill, in addition to information about the cost of your broadband service after the program ends.
What is Lifeline and how do I qualify?
Lifeline is is an FCC program that's administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). It is intended to help make communications services more affordable for low-income consumers. To participate in the Lifeline program, consumers must either have an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participate in certain federal assistance programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, Supplemental Security Income, the Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit, or certain Tribal Programs. You can see if you are eligible by reviewing the information available at lifelinesupport.org (click "Do I Qualify?").
I already receive Lifeline benefits - will I automatically receive the Emergency Broadband Benefit or be enrolled in the Affordable Connectivity Program?
No, you need to apply to claim this benefit from your existing broadband service provider or sign up with a new one and claim. It is not automatically dispensed.
My Household's children receive free school breakfast and lunch - do we qualify for the Emergency Broadband Benefit?
Yes, you do, but you will have to apply to your Internet service provider as detailed above.
Can I receive other benefits as well?
The Emergency Broadband Benefit and the Affordable Connectivity Program are separate programs from other benefit programs. Any other benefits you may receive are not affected by it.
I live in a multi-dweller residence (such as an apartment building). We do not subscribe individually to the internet, it is provided as a service by the building. Are we eligible?
Yes, you probably are. However, the residents will have to discuss this with the landlord or apartment manager, as they will need to apply to the broadband provider as they are the customer of the Internet service.
I have a disability - am I eligible?
Yes, the program is designed to help people with disabilities. If you have an issue, please contact the FCC's Disability Rights office at 202-418-2517 for a voice phone call, at 844-432-2275 by videophone, or by email at [email protected].
What is the enhanced benefit amount for residents of Tribal Lands?
For the EBB program, eligible households on Tribal lands could receive a total monthly discount of up to $75. You did not have to be a member of a tribe, simply living on Tribal lands. You can find out more about which areas were eligible Tribal lands by visiting this site.
Currently, $1B has been set aside by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 to fund the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP) as a way to expand broadband Internet on Tribal lands and to make broadband Internet access affordable to people living there. You can find more information on the TBCP on the BroadbandUSA site.
EBB Options Available from the Major Cable Providers
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