Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

FCC Emergency Broadband Benefit Program Overview
Posted on 05/28/2021

Program Overview

The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) is a $3.2 billion federal initiative to help lower the cost of internet for eligible households during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This new benefit will connect eligible households to jobs, healthcare services, virtual classrooms, and more.

EBB will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands (find out which areas are eligible Tribal lands here). Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet (does not include cell phones or “phablets” that can make cellular calls) from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price. EBB is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household.

Program Length

Starting on May 12, 2021, providers participating in the EBB Program can begin enrolling eligible households into the program to receive EBB-supported service, and households will also be able to check their eligibility directly by using the consumer portal. The EBB program will end once the program funds are exhausted, or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the pandemic, whichever comes first.

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.

When the EBB program ends, households will need to opt-in or request to continue broadband services with their provider. If you don’t opt-in or select a new service plan with your provider, your broadband service will end once the program ends, even if you had service with the same provider before enrolling in the EBB program.

Applicant Eligibility

A household is eligible if any member of the household meets one of the criteria below:

  • 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
  • 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
  • Is eligible for a participating provider's existing low-income or COVID-19 program

When you apply for the EBB program using USAC’s online application, they will try to confirm your eligibility automatically. If they cannot automatically approve your application, they will ask you to provide information or documentation to validate one or more of the eligibility categories. They will also follow up to request additional documentation if the information you provide in a mailed application does not result in approval. To confirm your eligibility, additional documentation can be mailed or submitted electronically. Please include a cover sheet with your name and application ID if you mail anything to USAC (the cover sheet will be released later this month).

Application Instructions

There are three ways for eligible households to apply:

  1. Go to GetEmergencyBroadband.org to apply online and to find participating providers near you
  2. Contact your preferred participating broadband provider directly to learn about their application process
  3. Call 833-511-0311 for a mail-in application, then return it along with copies of documents showing proof of eligibility to:
    Emergency Broadband Support Center
    P.O. Box 7081
    London, KY 40742

To apply, you will need to provide your name, date of birth, home address, email address, and one of the following:

  • Last 4 digits of your Social Security Number (Social Security Numbers are not required to participate in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program but using a Social Security Number will process your application the fastest)
  • Tribal ID number
  • Driver’s License, Military ID, Passport, Taxpayer Identification Number, or other Government ID

Selecting a Broadband Provider

After receiving an eligibility determination, households should contact the provider they are interested in receiving broadband service from to select an EBB-eligible service plan. Various broadband providers, including those offering landline and wireless broadband, are participating in EBB. Find broadband service providers offering EBB in your state or territory.

Current Lifeline customers and households already enrolled in a provider’s existing low-income broadband program also may not need to apply for the benefit, but households should contact their provider for more information on how to enroll in the EBB Program and to apply their benefit to their existing broadband service.

Additional Information

For more information about the EBB Program, consumers and public stakeholders can visit the FCC’s and USAC’s EBB Program webpages. Consumers can also read the Broadband Benefit Consumer FAQ for answers to common questions. Individuals or organizations interested in becoming outreach partners with the FCC can sign up here.

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