2021-03-07 by W.M.
Are you eligible for the FCC’s emergency internet discount program? Here’s how to find out
The program will provide discounts of up to $50 a month, or $75 on Tribal lands, for broadband service for low-income households. It also includes a one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop computer or tablet purchased from certain providers, which are yet to be named but are likely to include major wireless network operators, among others.
Registration for consumers are expected to begin next month. Here’s how to know if you’re eligible.
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.
Households that suffered a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020, will be eligible if their total household income for last year fell below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers. 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.
How will it work?
The FCC is still nailing down final details of the program, including participating providers and an exact start date. But it has shared some information on how it will work.
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. That could open the door for more internet companies nationwide to participate in the emergency benefit program.
Participating providers will be reimbursed through the program for delivering broadband services or devices to low-income households. The FCC is in the process of establishing the systems needed for providers to participate.