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June 14, 2021

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Federal Government Offering Internet Access Assistance

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has a new Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program. This new benefit program will provide a discount on broadband services to eligible Energy Program, Work First Program, and Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) Program recipients who are struggling to afford internet service during the Covid-19 Pandemic. The EBB Program will help connect eligible households and families to jobs, critical healthcare services, virtual classrooms and more. The EBB Program will provide a discount up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible Energy Program and FNS recipients and $75 per month if they are on tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers. This benefit is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household. FNS recipients can qualify through participation in FNS or free and reduced school lunch. FNS recipients must have the proper documents to prove participation of the programs. The Department of Education has provided schools with forms recipients can provide to show eligibility via the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). However, some recipients may reach out to FNS offices regarding documentation they can use to apply for the EBB Program. If FNS recipients are currently enrolled in the Lifeline program, they do not have to apply again for the EBB Program. They can apply their Lifeline and EBB Program benefits to the same or separate services. They can contact their Lifeline provider about the services available as part of EBB Program, including options to apply the discounts to their existing Lifeline service. For more information on eligibility and how to apply, recipients can visit https://getemergencybroadband.org/.2 Recipients can begin applying for and enrolling in the program on May 12, 2021. The program will end when funds are exhausted or six months after DHHS declares an end to the Covid-19 health emergency declaration, whichever is sooner.

Story Provided by Toby Burrell

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