FCC to provide $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit program

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has started a rulemaking for a $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit program to provide Internet access to low-income individuals during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program was passed as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and directs the FCC to reimburse eligible carriers $50 per month ($75 per month on Tribal lands) to provide discounted broadband service and $100 per eligible household reimbursement for a connected device (e.g. computer or tablet).

Last year, CWA, American Federation of Teachers, and Service Employees International Union urged Congress to include affordable, universal access to broadband in future legislation that addresses the coronavirus pandemic.

"It is clearer than ever that affordable broadband is essential. Yet tens of millions of Americans don't have broadband Internet at home," the letter read. "Everyone in the country has been affected by this global public health crisis, but people of color, low-income families, and rural communities are particularly affected, leaving our nation's most vulnerable communities struggling to stay connected with school, work, healthcare, entertainment, and their loved ones during this public health crisis."

Links:

FCC moves forward on $3.2 billion emergency broadband program (RCR Wireless, Jan. 6, 2020)

Unions urge Congress to include universal access to broadband in pandemic response (Speed Matters, May 15, 2020)