How to apply for $50 off your monthly internet bill

Technology

A new government program could save you $50 a month on your internet bill. It’s through a new FCC initiative called the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) and applications are open starting now. Here’s what you need to know and how to apply.

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Emergency Broadband Benefit (Credit: FCC)

The EBB program is aimed at helping households afford internet service during the pandemic. We all know how critical a good connection is for work and school from home.

With that in mind, the FCC has set aside $3.2 billion dollars for monthly discounts across a wide range of providers. Check to see if yours is participating here. If you don’t have service yet, you can also sign up for new service and still take advantage of the program.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program will provide eligible households a discount of up to $50 a month for broadband service. That number jumps to $75 a month if you live on Tribal land.

Although the benefit will be monthly, at this point we’re not sure when the discounts will end. The FCC says the program will go until the money runs out or for six months after the government declares the pandemic over, whichever comes sooner.

There’s also a one-time discount available of up to $100 off selected tablets and computers. The hardware offered varies by provider, and not all of them are providing this part of the benefit.

Here is who is eligible according to the FCC:

  • Has an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid or the FCC’s Lifeline program;
  • Approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year;
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
  • Experienced a substantial loss of income through job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020 and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers; or
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.

Applications for the program are being accepted online, and you could be approved instantly. Since the program is brand new, the actual way the discount is implemented isn’t clear just yet. It will likely be a monthly discount taken directly off of your bill.

“We’re connecting with our community-based organizations, we’re sharing it with stakeholders because we want people to know that this benefit exists and it’s there for their use,” said Lupita Sanchez Cornejo, Director of External Affairs at AT&T, one of the communications companies participating in the program.

In addition to AT&T, Verizon, Charter, Comcast, T-Mobile and others have pledged support for the program.

Spectrum has two websites. One for current customers at spectrum.net/broadbandbenefit. There’s another for those interested in signing up for service under the program at spectrum.com/getqualified. Alternatively, you can call 1-855-662-9946.

Ready to apply? Go to GetEmergencyBroadband.org, then scroll all the way down to the big blue button that says “Apply Now.”

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