During the epidemic, the FCC has taken a major step towards providing financial assistance to those struggling to pay broadband bills. If approved, the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program could provide $ 50 per month in millions of homes, and in tribal lands.
The EBBP was created in a budget passed by Congress earlier this year that set $ 3.2 billion to offset the cost of broadband in families already struggling to make ends meet.
“From work to healthcare, this crisis has made it clear that many homes are closed from modern life even without an Internet connection,” FCC President Jessica Rosenversel said in a statement. “It is more apparent than ever that broadband is no longer good. It is needed But many of us are struggling to afford this important service. “
The general size of the EBBP was already known, but since Congress first proposed last year it was up to the FCC to decide what it would actually look like. Rosenworcel described the program’s operational rules at the agency as an important step in taking the idea from reality to reality today.
The important bit is precisely the spelling that is eligible for benefits – intelligence, whoever:
- Eligible for FCC’s existing Lifeline Connectivity Subsidy Program
- Free and low-cost school receives lunch or breakfast benefits
- Received pell grant
- Meets other eligibility requirements for Internet providers’ current low-income or epidemic-related programs
- “Experiencing a sharp decrease in income since February 29, 2020”
That last one is a bit vague, and I have asked the FCC for more details (the proposed regulations are not yet public). This may include certain things like qualifying for unemployment benefits or a reduction in the percentage given to income. Based on specifying that it can greatly expand the scope of the program. I have asked the FCC for more details.
Most eligible families will receive $ 50 per month, and those living on tribal land will receive $ 75 per month. There is also the possibility of a one-time $ 100 to help cover the cost of the device purchased from some providers.
Unfortunately there are many more steps before one is likely to get these exemptions. The FCC will have to approve and vote on the rules, which can take a few months even at the fastest pace. And then there is a period of consideration of requests from providers, which may take further time. All told that if everything progresses at maximum speed or it may take more than three months, if they get stuck in red tape.
Now that the rules have at least been set, however, it is only a matter of time – a short rest is complete for the troubled people, but it is something to look forward to.