In late 2020, Congress established an Emergency Broadband Connectivity Fund of $3.2 billion to help Americans afford Internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic, directing the FCC to establish an Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB) for low-income households. Last week, the FCC released the initial rules. Libraries can learn more and sign up to be an outreach partner at https://fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit.
- Struggling to Afford Internet? The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program May Help [Consumer Reports] “Eligible families will get up to $50 per month to help defray the cost of decent broadband and $100 toward a computer.”
- FCC authorizes $50 discounts for low-income households’ internet bills [The Verge] “It will help those sitting in cars in parking lots just to catch a Wi-Fi signal to go online for work. It will help those lingering outside the library with a laptop just to get a wireless signal for remote learning.”
- Introducing the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program [Benton.org] “Keep in mind that Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is temporary, with a limited amount of funding. It is meant to last no longer than 6 months after the COVID emergency. Households that get Emergency Broadband Benefit Program services will get notified before the program ends and will be able to cancel service (without a fee) before receiving any increases in their bill.”
- ALA welcomes new Emergency Broadband Benefit program [ALAnews] “ALA will coordinate directly with FCC leadership to engage and support libraries in outreach and education activities in the 60-day lead-up to the program start. In the meantime, libraries may sign up to receive important updates and information about the Emergency Broadband Benefit program at www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit.”
From the Ohio Web Library:
- “Broadband Boosters.” MIT Technology Review, vol. 124, no. 2, Mar. 2021, p. 64.
- Starks, Geoffrey. “The Time for Digital Equity Is Now: FCC’s Geoffrey Starks Says COVID-19 Has Laid Broadband Disparities Bare.” Multichannel News, vol. 42, no. 3, Feb. 2021, p. 32.
- Romm, Tony. “Lifeline Program’s Disconnect Worsens in Time of Crisis.” Washington Post, The, 2021 Oct. 2AD.