What We're Watching: Emergency Broadband Benefit

blue wires broadband

We’re tracking the government’s rollout of the Emergency Broadband Benefit, a $3.2 billion fund designed to make broadband access more affordable during the pandemic. As of June 20, 2.7 million households have enrolled, but it’s unclear just how much money is left in the fund and when the program will end. 

Learn more about the EBB below. 

By Haley Cush
The Rural Assembly

The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) is a temporary phone and internet credit of up to $50 a month toward broadband service or $75 a month for households on some Tribal lands. Additionally, the benefit offers a one-time discount of up to $100 (provided the recipient puts between $10 and $50 down toward purchasing) toward a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer.

The benefit will continue monthly until the fund runs out of money or six months after the Covid-19 health emergency ends, whichever is sooner. 

As of June 20, 2.7 million households have enrolled. 

Are you eligible for EBB?

There are MANY reasons you may be eligible for the Emergency Broadband Benefit including income level at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines, Medicaid status, Tribal status, federal Pell Grant Status, and more.

Only one member of the household must qualify for the household to be eligible. If you are not sure whether or not you or someone in your household qualifies, check your eligibility here.

How to apply for EBB

You can apply for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program online, via mail, or directly through your broadband service provider. 

If you are eligible for Lifeline, the federal program that provides up to $9.25 towards phone and internet, OR if you are already in a Covid-19 relief or low-income program with a non-Lifeline provider,  you do not need to apply for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program separately. Contact your service provider directly and ask to get the credit applied.

How to contact your service provider

After checking if you qualify and applying for the Emergency Broadband Benefit using getemergencybroadband.org, you will need to contact your service provider to have the credit put toward your monthly bill. 

The FCC has created this list of service providers in each state who have elected to participate in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. The list also details whether or not the provider is offering a one-time discount of up to $100 (provided between $10 and $50 is put down toward purchasing) towards a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer.

These major service providers have information directly on their sites including contact information and eligibility information.

You can learn more about the benefit, including eligibility and enrollment information, by visiting  www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit, or by calling 833-511-0311. The website ebbhelp.org — is another great resource. 

Want to help others find out if they qualify? The FCC’s outreach tool website has social media graphics, fact sheets, and more.

If you’re taking advantage of this benefit, how did it go? Let us know if you’ve run into challenges with the application or with your provider. Write us at tracy@ruralstrategies.org. 

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