broadband

2.3M Households Enroll in Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) announced that 2.3 million households have enrolled in the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program in its first three weeks.

The EBB program provides a discount on both broadband service and needed equipment, such as a modem. Participating households may also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 for one connected device – a laptop, desktop, or tablet computer – where available from a participating broadband provider. To receive the discount, the household must contribute between $10 and $50 towards the cost of the device.

FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said that since launching in mid-May, households in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, and American Samoa were approved to receive a discount on their monthly internet bills and have selected a participating EBB provider to receive internet service at home.

“I am thrilled to see that the great need for affordable broadband support is being met with over 2 million households enrolled in three short weeks,” Rosenworcel said in a release. “I’ve also said we need good data to know how the program is progressing and to inform any long-term efforts to address broadband affordability. This information is now available to the public as we always intended.”

To help track data, the FCC directed the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) to develop a new data dashboard for advocates, members of Congress, and the general public to track the progress of the EBB Program. In a statement highlighting EBB enrollment numbers, the FCC also announced that the new dashboard has officially launched.

The dashboard provides information on nationwide and state-specific enrollment figures. Moving forward, it will also report the amount of program funds disbursed once participating providers start to file claims and will be updated regularly by USAC staff.

The FCC’s announcement comes after the Department of Education launched an outreach campaign to alert K-12 and higher education students that they are eligible for a monthly discount on broadband internet service. The campaign, which was launched in mid-May, targeted families with children participating in the free or reduced-price lunch or school breakfast program, and 6.5 million Pell Grant recipients.

Kate Polit
About Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs