AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Emergency Broadband Benefit could take $50 off your internet bill if you meet certain requirements.
The program is part of the federal government’s $900 billion pandemic relief package passed in December 2020. The money is expected to last several months for tens of millions of eligible Americans.
To be eligible for the program, your household income must be at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines or one of the following:
- Qualifies for Lifeline benefits through participation in SNAP, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, Federal Public Housing Assistance, or Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit;
- Participates in one of several Tribal specific programs: Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribal Head Start (only households meeting the relevant income qualifying standard), Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF), Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations;
- Experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020 with a total household income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers;
- Received a federal Pell Grant in the current award year;
- Received approval for 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; or
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program, and that provider received FCC approval for its eligibility verification process.
In Austin, most broadband companies are participating in the program. You can check to see if your internet service provider is part of it at the broadband benefit’s website. One big company that’s missing from the participant list is Google Fiber. The company said in a statement that “technical requirements” are keeping them from joining the program.
“Google Fiber is glad to see the FCC taking action to ensure that more people have access to fast, reliable internet,” the statement said. “Due to technical requirements, we’re not currently participating in the program, but we’re actively looking into how our systems can accommodate the program.”
To enroll in the program, visit the broadband benefit’s website. For those who don’t currently have internet, call 833-511-0311 to get an application in the mail. Once you get the application, fill it out and include copies of your proof of eligibility and mail it to this address:
- Emergency Broadband Support Center, P.O. Box 7081, London, KY 40742