On Wednesday, May 12, 2021, households in Somerville will be able to apply for the Emergency Broadband Benefit offering discounts on internet services and devices.
The Emergency Broadband Benefit is a program created by the FCC to help families struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. This program, available for the length of the pandemic will connect eligible households to jobs, critical healthcare services, virtual classrooms, and so much more.
Eligible families may opt to receive a monthly discount on broadband service of up to $50 per household. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.
In Somerville, customers can sign up via the RCN Emergency Broadband Benefit portal.
A household is eligible if a member of the household meets one of the criteria below:
- 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 Lifeline;
- 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;
- Experienced a substantial loss of income due to 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
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
In announcing the official launch date, Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel stated:
“Families in every corner of the country have been struggling to get online throughout this pandemic. For those families, we now say help is around the corner. In less than two weeks, we will have a new way for disconnected Americans to access the internet to carry out their day-to-day life, so they can reach the virtual classroom, take advantage of telehealth, and seek new employment opportunities.”
Beginning on May 12 households can apply in three ways:
- Contact your preferred participating broadband provider directly to learn about their application process.
- Go to GetEmergencyBroadband.org to apply online and to find participating providers near you.
- Call 833-511-0311 for a mail-in application, and return it along with proof of eligibility to:
Emergency Broadband Support Center
P.O. Box 7081
London, KY 40742
Earlier this week the FCC also hosted a webinar that provided an overview of the benefit, eligibility criteria, how to apply, and the FCC’s partner toolkit materials. If you missed the event live, a recording can be viewed online.
Below is additional information about this benefit and how to apply:
- Consumer FAQ – Questions and answers on eligibility, how to apply, participating service providers, connected device benefits, Tribal benefits, and program length.
- Participating Providers Look Up Tool – Find broadband service providers offering the Emergency Broadband Benefit in your state or territory.
- Emergency Broadband Benefit Consumer Information Hub
- GetEmergencyBroadband.org – The website where consumers will be able to apply for the benefit.