Feb. 26 (UPI) -- The Federal Communications Commission voted Friday to establish a program to offer qualified households up to a $75 monthly benefit toward broadband Internet access during the pandemic.
The so-called Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is expected to be implemented within 60 days.
"This $3.2 billion program was designed to lower the cost of high-speed Internet service for those struggling to get the connectivity they need during the ongoing pandemic. It's a challenge that is all too real for too many families," said FCC acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.
"This is a program that will help those at risk of digital disconnection. 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. It will help those who worry about choosing between paying a broadband bill and paying rent or buying groceries. In short, this program can make a meaningful difference in the lives of people across the country."
The program will provide discounts of up to $50 a month for broadband service and up to $75 a month for households on tribal lands. It also gives a one-time discount of up to $100 for a computer or tablet purchase for each eligible household.
To be eligible, households must participate in an existing low-income or pandemic relief program offered by a broadband provider; be a Lifeline subscriber, including those who receive Medicaid or SNAP benefits; have children who receive free or reduced-price lunch or breakfast at school; be Pell grant recipients; or include individuals who have lots their jobs or a significant portion of their income since Feb. 29, 2020.