What is the Emergency Broadband Benefit program?
FTC has announced it will be participating in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB), a federal government program aimed at helping households struggling to pay for internet service during the coronavirus pandemic. The EBB program will provide a temporary discount of up to $50 on internet bills for households that meet income eligibility requirements. The program will operate until the funding runs out or until six months after the federal “Emergency Period” as defined by Congress, whichever comes first.
Am I eligible for the Emergency Broadband Benefit program?
A household is eligible if one member of the household:
- Has an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid or Lifeline. Those who are already qualified for Lifeline do not need to re-apply;
- Approved to receive 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;
- Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
- Experienced a substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020, and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers.
Those who have questions as to whether they meet the above criteria can go to getemergencybroadband.org/do-i-qualify/.
How do I sign up for the Emergency Broadband Benefit program?
To apply through the National Verifier, go to getemergencybroadband.org/how-to-apply/. To enroll in the EBBP with FTC, participants must first be approved under the National Verifier. Once the participants have been approved, they will need to take their paperwork by one of FTC’s seven stores and sign an agreement that states they understand the EBBP is temporary, and rates will revert to retail prices at the conclusion of the program.
How do I receive my Emergency Broadband Benefit credit?
The credit, which will be placed directly on the applicants’ monthly bill, can be applied to any FTC internet plan. If the monthly rate exceeds the $50, the applicant will be required to pay the difference. If the rate falls below $50, the credit will be the total amount of the plan. The normal security deposit process is being waived for the EBBP. Once the temporary funding program ends, participants will be subject to standard retail rates to continue receiving service.
How long will the Emergency Broadband Benefit program last?
This $3.2 billion program is a temporary fund established by Congress and will be available until the funding runs out or until six months after the federal coronavirus “Emergency Period” as defined by Congress, whichever comes first.