Emergency Broadband Benefit Program expected to come online the end of April

Published: Apr. 23, 2021 at 10:09 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - More relief is on the way for those needing internet access.

The Federal Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is expected to launch the last week in April, helping those who have had to make financial sacrifices during the pandemic stay connected.

This benefit will provide a temporary discount of up to $50 off eligible household’s monthly bill for broadband internet and up to $75 for Tribal members.

It’s a $3.2 billion incentive program formed under the Consolidated Appropriations Act for coronavirus relief.

“About three percent of people in Wisconsin report they can’t afford internet access at home,” said Alyssa Kenny, director of digital service access for the Wisconsin Public Service Commission.

That’s why the Federal Communications Commission is trying to help those stay connected, especially during the pandemic when many have been forced to work and learn from their homes.

“There’s a lot of households in the state that I would call, data poor. They essentially might have internet access, but they don’t actually have enough data to really make full use of it,” said Kenny.

This benefit will be available to households at or below the federal poverty line, a household utilizing the free and reduced school lunch program, or to those who got laid off due to the pandemic.

Click here to view the full list of eligibility criteria.

“Essentially, if you are in any poverty related program you will immediately get eligibility. The databases are connected online, people will just have to identify who they are, and the data bases will find them,” said Kenny.

However, internet service providers need to opt into the program.

Click here for a breakdown of providers offering the program in Wisconsin.

“We’re really lucky in Wisconsin that almost all of those carriers with thousands and thousands of customers are accepting this benefit,” said Kenny.

Those wanting to take advantage of the program will have to sign up through their internet provider. The program will be available for the duration of the pandemic and up to six months after the National Emergency is lifted.

Click here to see if you qualify for the program.

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