How eligible households qualify for discounted broadband service

New York News

PRATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WETM) — After schools across the nation turned to virtual learning due to the coronavirus pandemic—internet connection and access became vital to many. Now, many qualify to sign up for affordable internet access.

The emergency broadband benefit is a program to help households struggling to afford internet access. This will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying tribal lands.

“Over the past year especially I think most of us, if not all of us, have found that having fast reliable internet is crucial, whether it be school, whether it be working from home, families that need it for many reasons it’s so important so it’s a part of our everyday life it’s becoming a utility just like electricity and water,” said Bob VanDelinder with Empire Access, an internet service provider in New York.

According to the Federal Communication Commission, a member of a household must meet one of the qualifications below:

  • Income at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in assistance programs like SNAP, Medicaid, or Lifeline
  • Approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year
  • Experienced substantial loss of income from job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020, and the household’s income in 2020 totals at or below $99,000 (or $198,000 for joint filers)
  • Meets eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program

Online applications for the program are experiencing high demand according to the FCC website. They list three ways for eligible households to apply.

  1. Contact your preferred participating broadband provider directly to learn about their application process
  2. Go to to apply online and to find participating providers near you
  3. Call (833) 511-0311 for a mail-in application, and return it along with copies of documents showing proof of eligibility to
    • Emergency Broadband Support Center
      P.O. Box 7081
      London, KY 40742

After receiving an eligibility determination, households can contact their preferred service provider to select an Emergency Broadband Benefit eligible service plan.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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