After only three weeks, the FCC has signed up over 2.3 million households for its Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB), according to acting FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel, who said the public and others can now track that progress themselves.
Those include low-income households in all 50 states and territories.
At the FCC's direction, the Universal Service Administrative Company, which administers the FCC's ongoing Universal Service Fund advanced telecommunications subsidy program, has set up an online dashboard to track the EBB. The dashboard includes information on nationwide enrollment as well as state-by-state breakdowns, and will provide the amounts disbursed once claims for the money are filed.
More than a thousand broadband providers are participating in the program, according to the FCC.
The EBB, which launched May 12, is a $3.2 billion program established by Congress as part of a December COVID-19 aid package.
The program offers up to a $50-per-month subsidy for eligible households (up to $75 on tribal lands) and up to a one-time $100 toward a computer or tablet until the money runs out.
As cable broadband providers had asked for, the program is open to ETC's (eligible telecommunications carriers) and non-ETCS including cable broadband providers and wireless internet service providers (WISPs), as well as non-traditional broadband providers like community-owned networks, electric cooperatives, or municipal governments," the item said.
Eligible households must apply for the benefit, so the FCC has been encouraging ISPs, broadcasters and others to spread the word about its availability.
Households already getting discounted broadband through various broadband operator programs will be automatically eligible for the EBB subsidy, but cannot be automatically enrolled by the broadband provider.
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.
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