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Nearly a third of low-income broadband users could not afford home broadband service, Pew finds

15 Jun, 2021

A Pew Research Center survey of US adults found that nearly a third of households with annual incomes under $30,000, a quarter of those earning between $30,000-$50,000, and 15 percent of all home broadband users have had problems paying for broadband service. 

Roughly a third of broadband users and smartphone owners in households with lower incomes have had trouble paying for these services during the pandemic

The Pew survey highlights the importance of government programs intended to help low-income households access essential telecommunication services. For example, the recently launched $3.2 billion temporary FCC Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB) enrolled over one million households in its first week of operation. The EBB program reimburses eligible carriers $50 per month ($75 per month on Tribal lands) to provide discounted broadband service and $100 reimbursement for a connected device (e.g. computer or tablet) to low-income households during the Covid-19 pandemic.


34% of lower-income home broadband users have had trouble paying for their service amid COVID-19 (Pew Research Center, June 3, 2021)

FCC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit Program enrolls over one million households in its first week (Speed Matters, June 1, 2021)


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