Federal aid is now available specifically to help families pay for high-speed internet service, plus a computer or tablet. It’s called the Emergency Broadband Benefit, and it provides discounts of up to $50 a month for high-speed internet along with a onetime discount of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet purchased through a participating provider.
Chances are, many of the families in your schools qualify for this benefit. Households qualify if anyone in the household is eligible for the free and reduced-price school lunch or breakfast programs; participates in SNAP, Medicaid, or Lifeline; received a Federal Pell Grant this year; or lost significant income due to furlough or job loss since Feb. 29, 2020.
Best of all, this particular benefit program is designed to help even those eligible families that might normally slip between the cracks. They’re eligible even if they have an outstanding balance with their internet provider or a balance already in collections. If the family is using Lifeline service, they can apply this new benefit to that service or to a separate home broadband service. If they’re paying for internet service as part of their rent, they should ask their property manager to work with their broadband service provider to learn more about the benefits available to eligible residents. See this FAQ
for more information.
As the name implies, this program is temporary. That means I’m counting on you to spread the word to the families in your schools as quickly as possible. Fifty dollars a month can mean a lot to struggling households, and a high-speed internet connection can provide access to the kinds of opportunities we take for granted. For more information, go to fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit
or call (833) 511-0311. See below for an application form.