FCC Unveils First Round of Emergency Broadband Benefit Participants

FCC
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The FCC has released a list of the 300-plus wired and wireless ISPs who have been accepted into its Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program, which provides subsidized internet service and devices.

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The providers are in all 50 states and the district. This is just the first wave of accepted providers for the multi-billion-dollar subsidy, which provides up to $50 per month (and up to $75 on tribal lands) toward broadband service in eligible households--those struggling to afford broadband connectivity during a pandemic that has made virtual connection an essential service.

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Among the familiar names on the list of accepted providers were Comcast, AT&T, Mediacom, and Cable One. Charter signaled in a blog post Thursday (April 1) that it will also be participating.

The money can also go to a one-time $100 discount on a computer or tablet, but not cell phones.

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Eligible households are ones that participate in a low-income pandemic relief program offered by an ISP, or with kids on a free or reduced lunch program, or current Lifeline subs, or those on Medicaid, Pell grant recipients and those who have reduced income due to lost jobs.

The FCC got a lot of help in deciding how to spend the $3.2 billion EBB set-aside contained in a December COVID-19 relief bill.

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.