Family on computers at home

More than 1 million households signed up for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program during the first week of its availability, according to the FCC.

The program, which will provide $3.2 billion in discounts, supports families with as much as $50 ($75 in qualifying Tribal lands) for connectivity and as much as a $100 reduction in the cost of a laptop, desktop or tablet if the consumer contributes between $10 and $50 of the purchase price.

The program has wide buy-in. The FCC says that households in the 50 states, Washington DC, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and American Samoa are participating.

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“The high demand we’ve seen for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program demonstrates what many of us already knew to be true – too many families are struggling to get online, even in 2021,” Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a press release about the FCC Emergency Broadband Benefit Program milestone. “Help is here. As an agency, we’re continuing to focus our efforts on reaching as many communities as possible, so they can get the support they need,”

More than 900 broadband providers are in the program. Ways for households to qualify include participating in programs such as SNAP, Medicaid, Lifeline or if a child relies on reduced-price school meals. The program also is available to those who are eligible for providers’ existing COVID-19 relief programs, to those who have received a Pell Grant this year or low-income households who suffered a large reduction in income due to job loss or furlough since Feb. 29, 2020.

The program launched on May 12. On that day, Altice, Wide Open West, Cox and others announced that they were on board. During the past few weeks, several providers – including Midco, Watch Communications, Sparklight and many others – said that they are participating in the program.

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