U.S. to launch a $3.2 billion temporary broadband subsidy to low-income Americans starting May 12
As part of its efforts to bridge the digital divide, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced today that it will launch a temporary $3.2 billion program to provide lower-income Americans with discounts on monthly internet service and on purchasing laptops or tablet computers. The program is scheduled to start on May 12.
In an announcement on its website, the FCC said that “The Emergency Broadband Benefit will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands.” Meanwhile, the Emergency Broadband Benefit is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household.
The FCC further adds that “eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.”
In a statement, acting FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel said:
“In less than two weeks, we will have a new way for disconnected 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,”
Meanwhile, the FCC said today that it had approved 747 companies, including AT&T Inc (T.N), Verizon Communications Inc, T-Mobile Inc., and Comcast Corp, to participate in the program. However, the Internet providers said the funding could be exhausted within four to six months, according to a report from Reuters.