Do you need help paying for home internet?
New federal government program offers a monthly benefit for home internet service.
We all need the internet now more than ever. That's why Congress created the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB). The EBB provides short-term assistance to individuals, students, and families to help pay for internet service and devices.
Update: The EBB is changing!
On December 31, 2021, the EBB will become permanent and be renamed the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). For most people, the monthly benefit will drop from $50 to $30, and there will be some changes to who qualifies.
Here is what you need to know:
- If you enroll by Dec. 30, you will continue to receive the full $50 benefit per month until March 1. After March 1, your monthly benefit will be reduced to $30. This may affect your bill.
- If you enroll after Dec. 30, your monthly benefit will be $30.
- Everyone enrolled in EBB will be automatically transferred to the ACP. You will not need to submit a new application.
- If you qualified for EBB based on 1) loss of income or 2) your internet provider's COVID-19 program, you will have to requalify for ACP by March 1. Contact your provider to requalify.
- Even if you didn't qualify for EBB, you may still qualify for ACP. ACP will accept people who use WIC benefits or whose income is below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
- If you live on certain tribal lands, your maximum benefit will remain $75 under ACP.
If you use EBB, we recommend you check with your internet provider and ask if you will be hit with a surprise bill or lose eligibility.
How it works
Beginning May 12, 2021, eligible households can receive $50 in assistance per month ($75 per month for households on tribal lands) to use for monthly home internet service. Eligible households can also receive a one-time $100 benefit for devices such as laptops and tablets. This is a short-term program designed to help individuals, students, and families stay connected to the internet during the coronavirus pandemic.
Do I Qualify?
A household can qualify in multiple ways: Does a student in your household receive free or reduced-price school lunch or breakfast? Have you or someone in your household lost your job in the last year? Are you a federal Pell Grant recipient? Do you qualify for the federal Lifeline program? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be eligible! Learn more about this benefit and eligibility requirements.See the list of requirements
How do I register?
There are three ways to register: Visit https://getemergencybroadband.org/how-to-apply/, contact your internet service provider so they can enroll you, or apply by mail. If you have questions, you can call the Emergency Broadband Support Center hotline (833) 511-0311 or email [email protected] for assistance. Apply for the EBB
Frequently Asked Questions
How will I receive this benefit? Is it a direct deposit to my bank account? The EBB program is accessed directly through your internet provider. Similar to a coupon or discount, this benefit is applied to the cost of internet service from the provider of your choice. For example, if you sign up for a home internet plan that costs $60 per month, beneficiaries under the EBB program would automatically receive $50 toward the listed price. This means you would only need to pay $10 out of pocket for a $60 service.
My child receives free or reduced-price lunch or breakfast at school. What do I need to do to sign up for EBB? You'll need to contact your child's school to get documentation that your child received free or reduced-price school breakfasts or lunches in the 2019–20 or 2020–21 school year(s).
Will I need to provide my Social Security number (SSN) to sign up? No. If a household is unable to provide an SSN or feels uncomfortable doing so, they can use a government-issued ID, passport, driver's license, tribal identification number, or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) documentation.
How long will this program last? This is a short-term program. Enrollment will close six months after the Secretary of Health and Human Services determines that the public health emergency is over, or when money for the program runs out, whichever comes first.
Will I be charged once this program runs out? Internet providers must give customers at least 30 days notice before the end of this benefit period. Once the EBB program ends, customers will have to "opt in" before being charged the full rate for service.
What internet services qualify for the discount? There is no minimum speed requirement, but it must be faster than dial-up (unless only dial-up is available). The service cannot be "metered" or based on a data allowance. Any internet service delivered the following ways qualifies for the benefit:
- DSL (Digital Subscriber Loop)
- Fiber-optic cable
- BPL (Broadband Over Powerlines)
- Dial-up, if that is all that is available
Can I use this program to help pay for my cellphone? This benefit cannot be used to pay for a cellphone or cellphone service. For more information on assistance for cellphone service, visit the information page for the FCC's Lifeline program.
What if I have more questions? Check back in the weeks ahead -- we'll have more information about EBB and participating providers then!
Are there resources you'd like us to include on this site? Email [email protected].
Learn more about what Common Sense is doing to Connect All Students.