FCC: Emergency Broadband Benefit Tops Million Sign-Ups

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The FCC said that in its first week, its Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) subsidy program has signed up more than a million households, including ones in every state and territory.

“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," said FCC acting chair Jessica Rosenworcel.

Also Read: FCC's Emergency Broadband Benefit Program Draws Crowd

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 says.

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.

John Eggerton

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.