The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB): Helping Households Connect During the Pandemic

The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB): Helping Households Connect During the Pandemic

Posted on May 26, 2021 by Kiarra Louis, consultant with The Patterson Foundation

On May 12, 2021, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) began accepting applications for the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB). EBB is a temporary federal assistance program designed to help qualifying households afford internet service during the pandemic. The program discounts an eligible household's internet by up to $50 a month through federal reimbursement directly to the internet service provider.

Various broadband providers, including Comcast (Xfinity), Charter (Spectrum), Frontier, and others, participate in the Suncoast region. To find an EBB Program provider in your area, use the Companies Near Me tool here.

As an emergency relief program, EBB will continue until funds are exhausted, or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the pandemic. To take full advantage of the program, it would be most beneficial for eligible households to apply as soon as possible. We do not know exactly when the program will end, though most experts project the funds to be exhausted within eight months or less.

We encourage individuals and organizations to help raise awareness about EBB, especially if you or someone you know may qualify! To find out if your household is eligible, please see the eligibility requirements below. Please share this information and the resources found below as widely as possible to ensure all who would benefit from this program have the opportunity to apply.

Eligibility
A household is eligible for EBB if a 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
  • Is 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
  • Meet the eligibility criteria for a participating provider's existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
The Application Process
Eligible households can apply in one of the following ways:
  1. Submit an application at GetEmergencyBroadband.org (available in English and Spanish)
  2. Contact a participating provider to learn about their application process
  3. Complete a mail-in application and send it along with copies of your household's eligibility to:
    Emergency Broadband Support Center
    P.O. Box 7081
    London, KY 40742.

Resources
To guide individuals in the eligibility and application process, Maribel Martinez, a consultant for Digital Access for All, created the following brief screencasts:
Next Steps for Consumers
Qualifications and Eligibility Requirements
Application Options
Submitting Documentation

The FCC has created useful materials such as fact sheets, flyers, posters, and more in several languages to share on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Additional resources and information are contained in the links below:
FCC Speaker Upcoming Meetings: FCC consumer experts will be explaining the Emergency Broadband Benefit at the sessions below. To attend a session, use the following Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81959330457.
  • Wednesday 6/2: 9am
  • Wednesday 6/2: 3pm (Spanish)
  • Thursday 6/3: 1pm
  • Tuesday 6/8: 6pm (Spanish)
  • Wednesday 6/9: 7pm
The Emergency Broadband Benefit program is a rare opportunity to connect eligible households to services related to education, health, employment, and other vital needs. Do not miss out on this opportunity to get your household or your community connected. Apply today and share the news!

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