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Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program?

As part of the COVID-19 emergency stimulus legislation, Congress signed into law, on December 27, 2020, a $3.2 billion broadband subsidy program for qualifying low-income households known as the Emergency Broadband Benefit program.  The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), using funds from the newly created Emergency Broadband Connectivity Fund, administers this program.  Although the FCC manages this program, it is not part of the Lifeline program.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit program was created to connect low-income households with affordable broadband (internet) service during the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to get or stay connected to work remotely or to find jobs, to have access to healthcare services, and to keep students connected to their classrooms.  This is a temporary program due to expire six months after the public health crisis is over, or when funds are depleted.

The FCC is expected to announce on February 25, 2021 when this program will begin.

Who is Eligible?

An “eligible household” is defined as any household with at least one member who meets one of the following criteria:

  1. Is qualified to participate in the federal Lifeline program (read more)
  2. Is qualified to participate in the free and reduced price lunch program
  3. Has experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020 that is documented by layoff or furlough notice, application for unemployment insurance benefits, or other similar document
  4. Has received a Federal Pell Grant in the current award year


See if you qualify for Lifeline