The FCC Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB) is a temporary government initiative from the federal government of the US. The aid program came about when Congress sat and saw it necessary to help people seriously affected by Covid “19 to access cheap broadband services for their daily communication needs. Again, the program aimed to help people working from home with subsidies to buy computers or tablets to work with.
It is crucial to note that the program also targets schools and libraries through the Emergency Connectivity Fund. Covid ’19 really messed up people’s lives, and while many people lost their jobs after the closure of their companies or after being sucked, others died and left children behind. Such kids require help to access learning materials. Reliable sources also explain that the program also links people to jobs, critical healthcare services, and virtual classrooms, among others.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) directs the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) on how to administer the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program. According to FCC, the Emergency Broadband Benefit beneficiaries will discount up to $50 every month for the broadband service to eligible households. Furthermore, households on qualifying Tribal lands will get up to $75 per month to cater to their broadband needs.
Can I get a free tablet through the EBB program?
Every eligible household will be able to get an Emergency Broadband Benefit-free tablet, or a computer depending on one’s preferences. That is because one can receive a discount of up to $100 to buy a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from the participating providers. The beneficiaries should contribute more than $10 and at least $50 toward the purchase price.
How do I become eligible for the EBB program?
Not everyone affected by Covid’19 will be able to benefit from the program. The government has come up with strict qualification requirements to ensure that only genuine people can benefit from the EBB program. One has to meet the following requirements.
- Has a total income at or below 135% according to the Federal Poverty Guidelines
- Participates in specific assistance programs, such as Medicaid, SNAP, or Lifeline
- Is approved to get benefits under the free and reduced-cost school lunch program or even the school breakfast program
- Received a Federal Pell Grant in the current award year
- Saw a significant loss of income because of job loss or furlough beginning from February 29, 2020. The household must have had a total income at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for the joint filers in 2020
- Qualifies in the provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 aid program
How do I apply for the Emergency Broadband Benefit?
You can apply for the Emergency Broadband at the Federal Communications Commission website and choose your service provider and your favorite service plan.
When applying for the program at the FCC website, you will be directed to GetEmergencyBroadband.org and apply online. You will also be able to see the nearest participating service providers. Once you apply, you will have to contact a participating service provider to choose a plan.
You can also visit a participating service provider’s website and learn how to apply. The qualifications are universal, and you will still have to meet them plus any other requirement from the carrier.
Another option is to contact 833-511-0311 for a mail-in application. You can also print a copy and return it along with eligibility requirement documents to;
The Emergency Broadband Support Center
PO Box 7081
London, KY 40742
After applying, you receive a notification that you have qualified and then contact a participating service provider to choose a plan.
When applying, you will need to provide the following details.
- Your name
- Your physical address
- Date of birth
- A form of ID: You can provide you’re Social Security Number (SSN), Tribal ID number, or any form of government-issued IDs such as the passport, driver’s license, or taxpayer ID number.
- A passport size photo or a scanned/snapped image of your ID.
Are Lifeline beneficiaries allowed to apply?
Lifeline is a government initiative that aims to help low-income households to benefit from free government phones and cheap communication plans. The Lifeline beneficiaries are eligible to apply for the EBB program. In fact, Lifeline gives you a direct ticket to benefitting from the Emergency Broadband Benefit. You can still enjoy both benefits without any worry.
Once the EBB program ends, you will be able to continue with your Lifeline program. The EBB program is temporary, meaning that it will one day end.
How many people in a household can enjoy the EBB program?
The EBB program allows only one person per household to apply for the program. Others can benefit from the beneficiary. Again, you cannot transfer the benefit to another person whatsoever. However, you can transfer your EBB account to another service provider. Even the Lifeline beneficiaries can transfer their accounts to other service providers at will.
When will the EBB program end?
The EBB program has no exact date when it will end. According to the laid down guidelines, the EBB program will end six months after the end of Covid’19 or when the funds allocated for the program are depleted. Therefore, whichever comes first will end the program.
Which service providers are participating in the Emergency Broadband Benefit?
Numerous service providers are offering you the EBB program. They include the following.
- AT&T Wireless
- Boost Mobile
- Comcast Xfinity
- Cricket Wireless
- US Cellular
- Metro by T-Mobile
- PCs for People
- QLink Wireless
- SafeLink Wireless (TracFone)
What if my area has poor network reception?
Even if your area has a poor network connection, you still have the right to receive the benefits so long as you qualify. One should not mind the poor network reception since there are numerous cell phone boosters that you can purchase and mount in your home to enhance your connectivity.
Examples of cell phone booster manufacturers include weBoost, SureCall, HiBoost, and Nextivity Cel-Fi.
The EBB program is a government initiative to help people seriously affected by Covid’19 to get affordable broadband services. You can apply for the program via the FCC or through your service provider of choice. Lifeline beneficiaries are eligible to apply. The EBB program will expire six months after the end of Covid’19 or when the funds allocated for the program deplete.
Interesting related article: “What is Broadband?”