New Castle County promoting federal Emergency Broadband Benefit

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New Castle County government announced it is working to help build consumer awareness about the Emergency Broadband Benefit, a new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program.

The temporary benefit will help to lower the cost of broadband service for eligible households during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We’re pleased to partner with the FCC in getting the word out about these important discounts,” said County Executive Matt Meyer. “We’re thankful the FCC has provided several programs where people who need help get to stay connected for work, for school, and to their community.”

The $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit program provides a discount of up to $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for qualifying households on qualifying tribal lands.

The benefit also provides up to a $100 per household discount toward a one-time purchase of a computer, laptop, or tablet if the household contributes more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase through a participating broadband provider.

A household is eligible if one member of the household meets at least one of the criteria below:

  • Has an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, or the FCC’s Lifeline program;
  • Approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year;
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
  • Experienced a substantial loss of income through job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020, and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers; or
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or Covid program.

On Wednesday, Atlantic Broadband announced its participation in the program. Atlantic provides service in the Middletown-Odessa-Townsend area in southern New Castle County.

Emergency Broadband Benefit enrollment opened on Wednesday.

Eligible households can enroll through a participating broadband provider or directly with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) using an online or mail-in application. Additional information about the Emergency Broadband Benefit is available at www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit, or by calling 833-511-0311 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. seven days a week.

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