The bipartisan leadership of the House Energy & Commerce Committee has called on ISPs to make consumers aware of Congress' $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit.
They want the ISPs to let the public know about the benefit, how they can get it, and which providers are participating in the program. "To further the effectiveness of this program, we urge your company to raise awareness about the availability of the EBB Program, consistent with applicable law and regulations," they told the ISPs.
The money is going to provide up to $50 per household per month ($75 on tribal lands) during the pandemic toward broadband service and a one-time $100 subsidy for an access device.
Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.), Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), Communications Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), and Communications and Subcommittee Ranking Member Bob Latta (R-Ohio), signed on to a letter to nine ISPs and trade associations, including NCTA-the Internet & Television Association and CTIA, seeking that help.
Companies getting the letters were Altice, AT&T, CenturyLink, Charter, Comcast, Cox, Frontier, T-Mobile, and Verizon.
"Simply put, the more companies participate in the program, the more we can, together, ensure that all Americans have this crucial connectivity," said the letter to Comcast. "As you know, the FCC recently released its unanimously approved rules for the EBB Program and indicated that it will open within 60 days. While the FCC is working to establish the start date of the program, your company can play an important role in its success by proactively raising awareness of the program to your customers and the public, including households likely to be eligible for the EBB Program."
The letters all praised ISP efforts to date to address the consumer connectivity issue during the pandemic.
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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.