he Emergency Broadband Benefit Program provides support for broadband services and certain devices to help low-income households stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On December 27, 2020, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 became law and established an Emergency Broadband Connectivity Fund of $3.2 billion in the United States Treasury to help Americans afford internet service during the pandemic. The Act directed the Federal Communications Commission to use the fund to establish an Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB Program), under which eligible low-income households may receive a discount off the cost of broadband service and certain connected devices, and participating providers can receive a reimbursement for such discounts. The EBB Program will conclude when the fund is expended or six months after the end of the public health emergency.
The Commission adopted the rules and policies creating and governing the EBB Program on February 25, 2021. The Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau, other Commission staff and the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) are overseeing and administering the processes and systems needed for the EBB Program. The Bureau has announced the initial deadlines for approving the broadband provider participation and election process. On May 12, 2021, the EBB Program launched and consumers can apply for the program through the National Verifier at GetEmergencyBroadband.org and service providers can begin enrolling consumers.