Jessica Rosenworcel, acting chairwoman of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has announced that its new Emergency Broadband Benefit programme has enrolled more than one million households in the week since it launched. Households in all 50 states, Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and American Samoa are benefitting from the subsidy programme, which was initiated by Congress. Over 900 broadband providers have agreed to take part in the scheme.
Households can qualify through a number of ways, such as through their use of existing assistance programmes like SNAP, Medicaid, Lifeline or if a child relies on reduced-price school meals. The Emergency Broadband Benefit is also available to households who are eligible for a broadband provider’s existing COVID-19 relief programme, to those who have received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year, and to those low-income households who suffered a large loss in income during the pandemic due to job loss or furlough since 29 February 2020.
Ms. Rosenworcel commented: ‘The high demand we’ve seen for the Emergency Broadband Benefit programme demonstrates what many of us already knew to be true – too many families are struggling to get online, even in 2021. Help is here. As an agency, we’re continuing to focus our efforts on reaching as many communities as possible, so they can get the support they need.’