Emergency Broadband Benefit Program Provides Discounts Toward Broadband Services for Eligible Households
MAYVILLE, N.Y.:-- Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel recently announced his office is working to help build consumer awareness about the Emergency Broadband Benefit, a new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program. The temporary benefit will help to lower the cost of broadband service for eligible households during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.
On Oct. 20, 2021, Wendel hosted a meeting with the mayors and supervisors of our local municipalities to discuss the Emergency Broadband Benefit, and how work in a collaborative fashion will help bring affordable broadband services to the residents of Chautauqua County.
The $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit program provides a discount of up to a $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for qualifying households on qualifying Tribal lands. The benefit also provides up to a $100 per household discount toward a one-time purchase of a computer, laptop, or tablet if the household contributes more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase through a participating broadband provider.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has further exemplified the importance that broadband internet access plays in our daily lives,” said Wendel. “Whether it is used by a student to enter a virtual classroom, an employee to complete work, or someone staying in touch with their friends or loved ones, the internet plays a crucial role in our education and economy. That is why I have made expanding broadband services a priority during my administration. It is important that residents are aware of this Emergency Broadband Benefit which will bring affordable broadband to Chautauqua County and assist them in paying for broadband services.”
A household is eligible for the Emergency Broadband Benefit program if one member of the household meets at least one of the criteria below:
- 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, 2020-2021, or 2021-2022 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.
Emergency Broadband Benefit enrollment opened on May 12, 2021. Eligible households can enroll through a participating broadband provider or directly with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) using an online or mail-in application.
Additional information about the Emergency Broadband Benefit is available at www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit, or by calling 833-511-0311 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. any day of the week.