Community

A new temporary federal program is offering funds to offset internet costs for certain low-income households struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Applications for the Federal Communications Commission’s Emergency Broadband Benefit Program launched Wednesday.

Qualifying low-income households can get a discount of up to $50 a month on broadband bills and related equipment rentals. They can also get a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, tablet or desktop computer.

A household is eligible if a member of the household meets one of the criteria below, per the FCC:

  • 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; or
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.

More information on eligibility and how to apply is at the emergency broadband website.