Emergency Broadband Benefit Program enrollment now exceeds 4 million households, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced today.
One million of those households signed up in the first week after the $3.2 billion subsidy program began in May.
People are interested in the program because it provides a temporary $50 to $75 discount on eligible households’ internet bills during the pandemic.
Additionally, the FCC has engaged in an outreach program, including press engagement, more than 320 virtual public presentations and the enlistment of more than 25,000 partners ranging from local Boys and Girls Clubs, school districts, libraries, YMCAs, food banks, Meals on Wheels and grassroots organizers to promote the program.
According to the FCC, more than 1100 broadband providers have agreed to participate in the program. Households can qualify for the temporary assistance if they use any of various existing assistance programs, including SNAP, Medicaid or Lifeline or if a child received reduced-price school meals programs in the last two school years.
Additionally, the program is available to households that are eligible for a broadband provider’s existing COVID relief program as well as to those that have received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year. Low-income households that suffered a significant loss in income during the pandemic due to job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020, are also eligible.
“We knew from the beginning that the success of the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program aid Jessica Rosenworcel, FCC acting chairwoman, in a prepared statement about the Emergency Broadband Benefit enrollment milestone, Acting FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel said the commission knew from the beginning that the program’s success “would largely depend on mobilizing trusted on-the-ground advocates and community leaders.”
She noted that “[w]ith more than four million enrolled households in less than three months, I say we’re on the right track. We’ve made terrific progress, but the FCC remains committed to building on this initial momentum so we can connect as many families as possible and help those struggling to get online.”