How Eligible Households Can Get Free or Low cost Web Service
Fg Trade | E+ | Getty Images
Here’s why the program exists
The new program was created by the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which Congress passed in November 2021. It is intended to be a permanent replacement for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, which was pandemic-related. Nearly 9 million households have signed up through this temporary initiative and were generally enrolled in the new program earlier this year.
“The response to the Emergency Broadband Benefit has proven what many have recognized as true: The cost of high-speed Internet is prohibitive for too many of us,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement when the new program was officially launched last year was started .
Although the temporary arrangement provided non-Indigenous households with a higher monthly benefit — up to $50 instead of the current $30 — the new program aims to reach a larger number of households with expanded eligibility.
The Biden administration said in May that 20 internet service providers — covering more than 80% of the US population — had agreed to offer plans for no more than $30 under the new program, meaning some households after the expiration the subsidy could not pay anything for their service applied.
In total, more than 1,300 providers participate in the program. States will receive money to bolster their broadband infrastructure under a $10 billion fund set up by the 2021 American Rescue Plan — an agreement that requires them to join the new program once the projects are completed.
There are several ways to qualify for subsidies
One way to qualify is to have a gross income of no more than 200% of the federal poverty line, which depends on household size. For example, for a family of two, the income cap would be $36,620; $55,500 for a family of four. Alaska and Hawaii have higher limits for all household sizes.
According to information provided by the FCC to CNBC, gross income includes all sources of income except those specifically excluded by the IRS, such as: B. Death benefits under a life insurance contract.
In addition to eligibility based on income, there are other ways to qualify. For example, if you or a member of your household received a state Pell grant for this school year, you may participate. Or, you can qualify through a participating provider’s existing low-income program.
Other ways to qualify include receiving benefits from social programs such as Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (aka SNAP), free or discounted school lunch programs, and others. The FCC has a full list of ways to qualify on its website. Some consumers may be automatically verified as eligible, while others may be required to provide documentation for verification.
Affordable Connectivity Program plans offer a minimum download speed of at least 100 megabits per second, according to the Biden administration, which allows multiple users to access the Internet simultaneously for teleworking, distance learning, or health monitoring.
If you encounter any problems while trying to apply for the new program, you can either call or email the support center.