The Federal Communications Commission announced Friday it has approved funds to provide internet subsidies for low-income families through the establishment of the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program.
The FCC says the program will provide eligible households with discounts of up to $50 a month for broadband service, and up to $75 a month if the household is on Tribal lands. It also will provide a one-time discount of up to $100 on a computer or tablet for eligible households, the FCC added.
The FCC says that the program is open to Lifeline subscribers, including those that are on Medicaid or accept SNAP benefits; households with children receiving free or reduced-price lunch or school breakfast; Pell grant recipients; and those who have lost jobs and seen their income reduced in the last year.
The program is expected to cost $3.2 billion.
“This is a program that will help those at risk of digital disconnection. It will help those sitting in cars in parking lots just to catch a Wi-Fi signal to go online for work,” said acting FCC chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “It will help those lingering outside the library with a laptop just to get a wireless signal for remote learning. It will help those who worry about choosing between paying a broadband bill and paying rent or buying groceries. In short, this program can make a meaningful difference in the lives of people across the country.”
The program is expected to begin within 60 days. The FCC has not launched a signup program yet, but when updated information will be available by clicking here.
Justin Boggs is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk.Follow him on Twitter @jjboggs or on Facebook.