Emergency Broadband Benefit
The Emergency Broadband Benefit is an FCC program to help families and households struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. This new benefit will connect eligible households to jobs, critical healthcare services, virtual classrooms, and so much more.
“We need to use all available tools to get 100% of us connected in this country and this program is an essential part of making that happen.” Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel
The Emergency Broadband Benefit will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.
The Emergency Broadband Benefit is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household.
Who Is Eligible for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program?
A household is eligible 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;
- 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; or
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
When Can I Sign Up for the Benefit?
As of May 12, 2021, eligible households will be able to enroll in the program to receive a monthly discount off the cost of broadband service from an approved provider. Eligible households can enroll through an approved provider or by visiting https://getemergencybroadband.org.
Check out the Broadband Benefit Consumer FAQ for more information about the benefit and please continue to check this page for program updates.
Which Broadband Providers Are Participating in the Emergency Broadband Benefit?
Various broadband providers, including those offering landline and wireless broadband, are participating in the Emergency Broadband Benefit. Find broadband service providers offering the Emergency Broadband Benefit in your state or territory.
Broadband providers can find more information about how to participate here.
Today we updated the National Broadband Map. The data displayed on the map (www.broadbandmap.gov) is current as of December 31, 2011. As always, enter a complete address with city and zip code to view results by Census Block or Road Segment.
To see previous datasets, please go to www.broadbandmap.gov/data-download. The map is powered by a new set of data from 1,865 broadband providers nationwide – more than 20 million records – and displays where broadband is available, the name of the provider, the technology used to provide the service, and the maximum advertised speeds of the service. This effort is the result of a partnership among NTIA, the FCC, 50 states, five territories and the District of Columbia. You can view maps of each state and learn more about their projects by visiting http://www2.ntia.doc.gov/StateBroadbandLinks.
October 8, 2009
Public, Educational, Governmental Channels Need Support
Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin has introduced the Community Access Preservation (CAP) Act of 2009 (H.R. 3745) to address the challenges faced by public, educational, and governmental (PEG) TV channels and community access television stations.
Historically, the funding for and broadcast of PEG channels have been negotiated as part of local franchise agreements between cable companies and local franchise authorities. However, twenty-three states have enacted new telecommunication laws that establish state-level franchise authorities. As a result of these recent state-wide agreements and a lack of adequate federal protection, some PEG channels now face significant broadcast and funding obstacles.
“Local access channels bring unique voices, perspectives, and programming to television,” said Congresswoman Baldwin. “The nature of television programming is changing, as are the methods in which that programming is delivered. These changes should not come at the expense of the diversity and vibrancy of local voices,” Baldwin said.
PEG channels connect residents with their local government in much the same way C-SPAN connects people to activities in Congress. Local school districts operate channels to feature school board meetings and forums, interviews, lectures, and sporting events not otherwise broadcast on television. Additionally, communities adopt various genres of PEG programming to reflect local interests. According to a survey conducted by National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors, religious shows represent 20-40% of local access programming.
PEG stations and channels are locally funded, produced, and viewed and current federal law and a number of state laws are silent as to the basic requirements for PEG broadcasts or do not require dedicated funding beyond an “adequate assurance of financial support.” Some franchised cable operators carry PEG channels differently than commercial channels, broadcasting them in reduced resolution, displaying them in menu-format, or simply moving them to a digital-only tier where they are inaccessible to analog cable customers. In some cases, customers must now pay extra fees in order to receive PEG channels. In other cases, operators are refusing to pass through PEG closed captioning unless a special request is made. This treatment undervalues PEG channels and their viewers.
The Community Access Preservation (CAP) Act would address the immediate issues facing PEG channels by:
- Allowing PEG fees to be used for any PEG-related purposes;
- Requiring PEG channels to be carried in the same manner as local broadcast channels;
- Requiring the FCC to study the effect state video franchise laws have had on PEG channels, and requiring operators to provide the greater of the support required under state laws, or the support historically provided for PEG; and
- Making cable television-related laws and regulations applicable to all landline video providers.
“Decisions at the state and federal level have combined to create a crisis for PEG. With the CAP Act, Rep. Baldwin effectively addresses the most immediate problems and opens the door to the future by preserving support for PEG while the FCC conducts its study. This bill is critical to us. Wisconsin’s rich community access heritage is on the line,” said Mary Cardona, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Association of PEG Channels.
“Community Media has a four decade history of connecting communities with their governments, schools, churches, friends and neighbors. The future existence of community media is being threatened against the intent of Congress for localism and diversity of voices in media. With the CAP Act, Rep. Baldwin addresses immediate needs to preserve and protect the important role PEG channels play in advancing democratic ideals through community uses of media,” said Matt Schuster, Chair, Alliance for Community Media.
The Community Access Preservation (CAP) Act does not assume a “one size fits all” PEG structure, instead leaving the decision to negotiate for PEG channels to franchising authorities and the local communities they represent.
Baldwin’s legislation is supported by the Alliance for Community Media (ACM) and the National Association of Telecommunication Officers and Advisors (NATOA).
Since June 12, 2009, full-power television stations nationwide have been broadcasting exclusively in a digital format. If you’re still using an analog TV set, you have to connect it to a digital-to-analog converter box to watch digital programming. If you have not yet done so, you can still make the switch now: How to apply for your coupon.