Emergency Broadband Benefit Program in effect for qualifying households on the Eastern Shore

May 20, 2021

Accomack County Administrator Mike Mason told the Accomack County Board of Supervisors that some qualifying local households could be eligible for discounts on internet service.

On February 25, 2021, the FCC voted to formally establish the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, a $3.2 billion federal initiative to provide qualifying households discounts on their internet service bills. Under the law, the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is open to households that participate in an existing low-income or pandemic relief program offered by a broadband provider; Lifeline subscribers, including those that are on Medicaid or accept SNAP benefits; households with kids receiving free and reduced-price lunch or school breakfast; Pell grant recipients; and those who have lost jobs and seen their income reduced in the last year.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program will provide eligible households with discounts of up to $50 a month for broadband service. The Emergency Broadband Benefit is temporary. It will expire when funds are exhausted or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declares the end of the COVID-19 health emergency.

In order to participate, a provider has to submit an application to the FCC. The ESVBA is participating as well as other local service providers. Most have information about the program on their website which includes how to enroll/apply.  Residents who think they may be eligible should contact their service provider.  From the consumers’ perspective, once enrolled they would see a reduction on their monthly bill.

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