FCC Establishes $3.2B Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

Wednesday, March 3, 2021 - 11:26am
Greetings from the Federal Communications Commission’s Office of Native Affairs and Policy.
On February 25, the Commission adopted a Report and Order establishing the $3.2B Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB Program or Program).  This limited-time program will end six months after the Secretary of Health and Human Services declares the COVID-19 pandemic over, or the program funding runs out, whichever occurs first.
Under this Program, eligible households can receive a discount from their providers on both broadband Internet service and associated equipment rentals of up to $50 a month, or, for eligible households on Tribal lands, up to $75 a month.  The EBB Program will use the same definition of eligible Tribal lands as the Lifeline Program.
Eligible households may also receive a discount of up to $100 on the cost of purchasing from their participating broadband provider a qualifying connected device, defined as a desktop, laptop or tablet computer.  Eligible households seeking the discount on a qualifying connected device must make a modest co-payment.
Under the law, the EBB Program is open to households that participate in an existing low-income or pandemic relief program offered by a broadband provider; Lifeline subscribers, including those that are on Medicaid or accept SNAP benefits; households with children receiving free and reduced-price lunch or school breakfast under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act or Child Nutrition Act of 1966; Federal Pell Grant recipients; and those below certain income thresholds who have lost jobs and seen their income substantially reduced in the last year.  Eligible households may participate in both the EBB Program and the Lifeline Program.  Both programs recognize that a single dwelling unit may contain more than one eligible household.
Both Eligible Telecommunications Carriers (ETCs) and approved non-ETC broadband providers will be able to participate in the EBB Program upon approval, including Tribal utility authorities and IT departments that provide broadband service to their communities.  More information for interested providers can be found athttps://www.fcc.gov/emergency-broadband-benefit-program.  The Commission intends to open the program to eligible households within 60 days as providers sign up and systems are put in place.
The Office of Native Affairs and Policy will be conducting targeted outreach in conjunction with partners in upcoming months to make information about the program available to Tribal Nations and their members.  The FCC has established a new website where stakeholders can sign up to help promote this new program, which can be found atfcc.gov/broadbandbenefit.  As the program is developed, the website will also be a resource for consumers and stakeholders to get the latest information on the Emergency Broadband Benefit.
Copies of the Report and Order and a related press release are attached, and can also be found here: https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-adopts-report-and-order-emergency-broadband-benefit-program-0.