FCC Boasts 6 Million Emergency Broadband Benefit Sign-Ups

FCC Building
(Image credit: FCC)

The definitely broadband-centric FCC announced Tuesday (Sept. 28) that more than 6 million households have now enrolled in its $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit program, just one of several Biden Administration creations to get bucks and broadband to a pandemic-sequestered populace in need of those connections as never before.

The benefit is up to $50 per month toward broadband service for qualifying low-income and disadvantaged households (up to $75 on tribal lands) and a one-time $100 discount on a computer or connected device from participating providers.

Also Read: Emergency Broadband Benefit Program Launches May 12

Almost 1,200 ISPs are participating in the program.

Eligible households are those on SNAP assistance, Medicaid, participants in the Lifeline program* or on a reduced school lunch program, and to those receiving Pell grants or who have suffered a "large" income loss or job loss or furlough due to the pandemic.

Also Read: FCC Circulates EBB Order

Congress provided the funds and some of the mandatory framework, including that participating broadband providers — they include Comcast, AT&T, Mediacom, and Cable One, and Charter — cannot exclude eligible households even if they have past or current delinquent payments.

Also Read: ISPs Prepare for Broadband Bucks to Flow

Households already getting discounted broadband through various broadband operator programs are also automatically eligible for the EBB subsidy, but cannot be automatically enrolled by the broadband provider.

*The Lifeline subsidy is the FCC's existing Universal Service Fund subsidy--about $10 dollars per month--for advanced telecommunications services for low-income residents.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.