New Federal Program Launches to Help Eligible DC Residents Access Internet

May 18, 2021
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Internet For All Program Image

(WASHINGTON, DC) –  This week, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB), a temporary program to help low-income residents subsidize their at-home internet service. This has $3.2 billion program will provide eligible District residents with much-needed free and subsidized internet service.

The EBB subsidy helps low-income households struggling to pay for internet service during the pandemic with:

  • Up to $50/month for internet service for low-income households (HH); and
  • A subsidy of up to $100 to participating internet service providers (ISPs) to offer a laptop, desktop or tablet for between $10-$50/HH.

A household is eligible if one member of the household meets at least one of the criteria below: 

  • Has an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid or the FCC’s Lifeline program;
  • Approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year;
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
  • Experienced a substantial loss of income through job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020 and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers; or
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.

EBB is separate from Mayor Bowser’s Internet for All program, which provides one year of low-cost internet service for households with students in Pre-K3 to 12th grade and in an adult charter school through RCN or Comcast.  The EBB subsidy is an alternative program great for residents who:

o   Do not have a student enrolled in DC traditional or Public Charter Schools

o   Need higher speed internet than Internet Essentials (Comcast) or Internet First (RCN), which are both 50 Mbps.

The Bowser Administration has partnered with Connected DMV to organize a DMV-wide outreach effort to ensure every eligible resident knows about this program. The Office of the Chief Technology Officer will hold two orientation session with community-based organizations to help reaching households in need. These CBOs can help spread the word about the EBB subsidy and Internet for All and assist with enrollment steps. 

How to Enroll in EBB

Eligible households can enroll through a participating broadband provider or directly with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) using an online or mail-in application.  Additional information about the Emergency Broadband Benefit is available at  www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit, or by calling 833-511-0311 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. any day of the week.

How to Enroll in Internet for All

Eligible Internet for All households can still sign up for one year of free Internet Essentials (Comcast) or Internet First (RCN) by texting “INTERNET” to 69866. More information can be found at techtogether.dc.gov.

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