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Over 5 Million Households Enrolled in Emergency Broadband Discount Program

August 27, 2021 by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON — More than five million households have enrolled in the emergency broadband benefit program since its launch in mid-May, the Federal Communications Commission said Friday.

Coinciding with this milestone, the agency also began releasing more granular enrollment data to inform its evolving awareness efforts, increase transparency in the program, and empower its outreach partners to better target awareness and enrollment efforts. 

The new data includes enrollee demographic information, such as age breakdown, eligibility category, type of broadband service, and enrollment numbers by five-digit ZIP code area.

The program is an FCC initiative through which qualified, low-income households can receive a temporary $50 per month discount on their monthly broadband bill.

The agency unanimously approved creating the program on Feb. 25, paving the way for the release of $3.2 billion in federal funding to help lower the cost of high-speed internet for eligible households during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program connects eligible households to jobs, critical health care services, and virtual classrooms.

The EBB program provides:

— Up to $50/month discount for broadband services

— Up to $75/month discount for broadband services for households on tribal lands

— A one-time discount of up to $100 for a computer (laptop, desktop, or tablet) purchased through a participating provider

The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per eligible household. 

Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a written statement that enrolling five million households would not have been possible without the support of nearly 30,000 individuals and organizations who signed up as volunteer outreach partners.

She went on to say that “through our analysis and conversations with partners, we heard the need for more granular data and today’s data release provides us all new opportunities to target and engage eligible families who may qualify for EBB but haven’t yet enrolled. 

“Information is power. We’re ready to put this new data to work,” Rosenworcel added.

You can download five-digit ZIP code Emergency Broadband Benefit enrollment data here.

In addition to the new data, the EBB Data Dashboard contains information related to nationwide and state-specific enrollment figures, reports the amount of program funds disbursed as participating providers file reimbursement claims, and three-digit ZIP code data the FCC started releasing in late June.

Households can qualify several ways for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program such as through their use of existing assistance programs like SNAP, Medicaid, Lifeline or if a child received reduced-price school meals programs in the last two school years. 

The Emergency Broadband Benefit is also available to households who are eligible for a broadband provider’s existing COVID relief program, to those who have received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year, and to those low-income households who suffered a significant loss in income during the pandemic due to job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020.

Over 1160 broadband providers have agreed to take part in the voluntary program. The benefit is available to eligible new, prior, and existing customers of participating providers. 

Customers can sign up by contacting a participating provider, enroll online here, or sign up via mail. 

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