FCC approves $50 broadband subsidy to help bridge the digital divide amid the pandemic
In brief: The Federal Communications Commission has unanimously voted to establish a program designed to help lower the cost of high-speed Internet for those struggling to get connectivity during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. It’s the nation’s largest-ever program tasked with helping households afford speedy Internet service, and should go into effect within the next 60 days.
The Emergency Broadband Relief Program is a $3.2 billion federal initiative that’ll provide eligible households with discounts of up to $50 per month for broadband service. Those living on tribal lands may be eligible for a $75 monthly discount, the FCC said in its announcement.
The program will also provide a one-time discount of up to $100 for eligible households towards the purchase of a computer or tablet.
The new relief program will be open to households that currently participate in existing low-income or pandemic relief programs, Lifeline subscribers, those on Medicaid or SNAP benefits, families with children receiving free and reduced-price lunch or school breakfast, Pell Grant recipients and those that have lost jobs and seen their income reduced over the last year.
According to The New York Times, the program will be funded with money allocated by Congress last year as part of its pandemic relief bill.
Image credit Nach-Noth, Casimiro PT