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Are you eligible for the FCC's emergency internet discount program? Here's how to find out

March 6, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 46.3%. 2 min read.

More help is coming soon for the many Americans still struggling to afford at-home, high-speed internet, which has become an essential for school, work and many other areas of life during the pandemic.

Congress' December Covid-19 relief bill included $3. 2 billion to help low-income Americans pay for broadband service, as the country continues its push toward recovery from the health and economic crisis.

The program will provide discounts of up to $50 a month, or $75 on Tribal lands, for broadband service for low-income households.

While experts say long-term solutions will still be needed to fully close the digital divide, the Emergency Broadband Benefit program could make major inroads in the coming months, a crucial time for economic recovery.

Households with at least one member who qualifies for the FCC's existing communications support program, Lifeline, will be eligible for the emergency benefit.

Lifeline serves low-income Americans, including those on Medicaid and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

Households whose children receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or school breakfast program during the current or prior school year will also be eligible, as will federal Pell Grant recipients.

The FCC will also provide the benefit to households that meet eligibility criteria for another low-income or Covid-19 discount program from a participating provider.

The FCC is still nailing down final details of the program, including participating providers and an exact start date.

The commission says that many types of broadband operators can qualify to provide service in this program, regardless of whether they participate in the existing Lifeline program.

Participating providers will be reimbursed through the program for delivering broadband services or devices to low-income households.

Once enrollment begins, eligible households can register for the program directly with participating broadband providers or with the Universal Service Administrative Company, a non-profit designated by the FCC to administer funding for broadband connectivity.

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