Americans now have a way to offset the cost of their internet service thanks to the Federal Communications Communication’s Emergency Broadband Benefit Program that is part of the $900 billion COVID relief package signed by former President Donald Trump in December.

Under the relief package, a total of $3.2 billion was provided to the FCC for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program to ensure that Americans in all states have access to affordable internet as schools turned virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Families in every corner of the country have been struggling to get online throughout this pandemic,” FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement. “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,” she added.

Under the program, eligible households will be able to apply to receive up to $50 a month off their internet bill from an approved broadband provider, which includes more than 800 companies such as AT&T, Comcast, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Households located on Tribal lands may be eligible for up to $75 a month.

 

 

The program also provides qualifying consumers a one-time discount of up to $100 per household on a computer or tablet.

The FCC will start taking applications Wednesday. To apply, consumers can enroll by visiting https://getemergencybroadband.org.

According to the FCC, the program is offered to those who are currently participating in an existing low-income or pandemic relief program provided by a broadband provider or Lifeline subscriber. It's also available for those on Medicaid, receive SNAP benefits, or have children on a free or reduced school lunch program or a Pell grant, for example.

The FCC said that it will continue to dole out funds through the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program until it runs out of money or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services says that the COVID pandemic has ended.

The world-famous computer engineer said discrimination was being further fuelled as many women could not get access to the internet The world-famous computer engineer said discrimination was being further fuelled as many women could not get access to the internet Photo: AFP / Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV