EMERGENCY BROADBAND BENEFITPosted: May 14, 2021
Our CWA National President, Chris Shelton sent out the following information on an emergency broadband benefit:
Throughout the pandemic, our members who work in telecommunications have been keeping our country’s broadband networks up and running. I am proud of the essential role we have played in enabling millions of Americans to continue to work, attend school, receive healthcare services and stay connected to their loved ones during this difficult time.
Just to let you know about an important new program that the Federal Communications Commission has launched to make Internet service more affordable–the Emergency Broadband Benefit, or EBB. Congress allocated $3.2 billion for the program as part of the December COVID relief package. The application process opened this week, and FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel has asked CWA to make sure our members and retirees know about the program and for local leaders like you to use your influence to get the word out in your communities.
The EBB provides a discount of up to $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers.
A household is eligible if one member of the household meets at least one of the criteria below:
Experienced a substantial loss of income through job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020 and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers; or
Has an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid or the FCC’s Lifeline program;
Approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year;
Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
Eligible households can enroll through a participating broadband provider or directly with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) using an online or mail in application. Those interested in the program can learn more, including eligibility and enrollment information, by visiting www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit, or by calling 833-511-0311
You are encouraged to download and distribute the FCC’s flyer with this information which is available in English at https://cwa.org/cwa-ebb-flyer-english and in Spanish at https://cwa.org/cwa-ebb-flyer-spanish. Please also ask your members to post the flyer on bulletin boards and other public notice areas in their community.
The FCC has a website with additional materials to help you spread the word about the Emergency Broadband benefit including social media content, additional flyers, and sample news releases. The website address is www.fcc.gov/emergency-broadband-benefit-outreach-toolkit.