High Speed Broadband Internet

Cyberspace: Commission launches Broadband subsidy programme May 12

*The Federal Communications Commission says eligible telecom consumers will be able to enroll in the programme to receive a monthly discount off the cost of Broadband Internet services across the United States

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

With an intent to assist millions of consumers who cannot afford to pay for Internet connection and boost Broadband penetration, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced that enrollment in its emergency Broadband benefit programme will begin in the country May 12, 2021.

The FCC is the Federal regulatory agency that oversees radio, television, and telecommunications in the United States (US).

ConsumerConnect gathered that the programme gives eligible consumers discounts of up to $50 per month for Broadband Internet service and up to $75 a month if the household is on tribal lands.

 

The Commission noted that a one-time discount of up to $100 on a computer or tablet will also be given to eligible households in the country.

The FCC further stated: “As of May 12, 2021, eligible households will be able to enroll in the program to receive a monthly discount off the cost of broadband service from an approved provider.”

The agency added that consumers can also sign up for the subsidies at its Web site, as it also plans to launch a “Companies Near Me” tool closer to the May 12 date.

FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel has announced that the programme is intended to help close the digital divide. During the pandemic, a lack of internet access has been a barrier to opportunities for a number of Americans.

Rosenworcel said: “Families in every corner of the country have been struggling to get online throughout this pandemic. For those families, we now say help is around the corner.”

The FCC Acting Chairwoman stated the subsidies would pave the way for more Americans to “access the Internet to carry out their day-to-day life, so they can reach the virtual classroom, take advantage of telehealth, and seek new employment opportunities.”

It is recalled that in an effort at helping disconnected Americans to get online, the US Congress had approved the subsidies December 2020.

Although it took several months to set up, the Broadband Internet discount programme is now set to roll out from May 12.

According to the agency, the empowerment programme is open to the following:

  1. Households that participate in an existing low-income or pandemic relief programme offered by a broadband provider;
  2. Lifeline subscribers, including those that are on Medicaid or accept SNAP benefits;
  3. Households with kids receiving free and reduced-price lunch or school breakfast;
  4. Pell grant recipients; and
  5. Those who have lost jobs and seen their income reduced in the last year.

Meanwhile, a list of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) participating in the programme has been provided via the agency’s Web site for prospective beneficiaries to enroll.

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