The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program is a game-changer for many individuals. It offers free access to phones and tablets for those who meet the eligibility criteria, opening up a world of digital opportunity.
Explore the impact of the FCC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit program on broadband affordability, understand how to get EBB free phone and tablet, the eligibility criteria, and learn about the challenges in program utilization.
What Is The EBB Program?
The EBB Program is an initiative by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States. It’s a response to the digital divide that has widened during the global pandemic. The program aims to help households struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Who Is Eligible For EBB Free Phone And Tablet?
Eligibility for the EBB free phone and tablet program hinges on a few key criteria. If a household has a substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020, and the household income in 2020 was at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers, they could be eligible.
Additional qualifying factors include receiving benefits through the free and reduced-price school lunch program or school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year.
How To Apply For The EBB Program?
Applying for the EBB Program is straightforward. Eligible households can apply through an approved provider or by visiting GetEmergencyBroadband.org. Applicants will need to provide proof of eligibility, such as a letter of participation in a qualifying program.
How Can The EBB Program Benefit You?
The benefits of the EBB Program are manifold. Participants can receive a discount of up to $50 per month for broadband service, $75 per month if the household is on qualifying Tribal lands. Additionally, participants can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers.
Affordability And Accessibility Of Broadband Service
The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program was created to address the economic inequities surrounding broadband services. The program, which is facilitated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), offers direct payments to broadband providers to subsidize the cost of broadband services for eligible households. The EBB covers up to $50 per month of broadband costs (and up to $75 on Tribal lands), which can significantly reduce monthly internet bills for many households. In fact, according to bill pay service Doxo, the average U.S. household spends $116 per month on cable and internet, meaning that the EBB could cut consumers’ monthly bills nearly in half. Advocacy group Broadband Now, however, estimates the average monthly cost for internet service alone to be $68.38, which would still see substantial reductions under the EBB program1.
Additional Benefits And Eligibility Criteria
In addition to subsidizing monthly broadband costs, the EBB also provides a one-time discount of up to $100 for the purchase of a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers, provided that the household contributes between $10-$50 toward the purchase price. To qualify for the EBB, households can show their participation in existing assistance programs such as SNAP, Medicaid, Lifeline, free-or-reduced-price school meals, or other programs. They may also qualify if they are eligible for a broadband provider’s existing relief program. The benefit is available to new, prior, and existing customers of participating providers1.
Obstacles To Program Utilization
Despite the substantial benefits offered by the EBB, many eligible households may not be aware of the program. Data from TruConnect, an EBB participating provider, suggests that many qualifying households aren’t reached by marketing efforts, and there isn’t sufficient cross-marketing with existing programs. Consequently, even when a household participates in a qualifying program, its members may not receive any information about additional benefits they could be eligible for. As a result, millions of Americans who qualify for subsidized broadband services are not yet enrolled1.
The Impact Of The EBB Program
The EBB free phone and tablet Program is more than just a financial relief initiative. It’s a catalyst for digital inclusion, giving eligible individuals the opportunity to participate in our increasingly digital world. From online education and remote work to telehealth and digital connectivity, the EBB Program is breaking barriers and making digital access a reality for many.
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