Pallone and Doyle on Launch of the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program
Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA) issued the following statement today in response to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announcement that the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program will officially begin tomorrow:
“Internet service isn’t a luxury – it’s a necessity like any other utility. This has never been truer than it is now, as hundreds of millions of families across the country are relying on it to telework, attend tele-health appointments, and keep their kids learning in virtual classrooms. Our economy would fall apart without it, yet right now millions of Americans are struggling to afford it. That’s why Congress enacted the Emergency Broadband Benefit last year – because it’s time to get serious about bridging the digital divide, and in that fight, affordability is half the battle.
“We were proud to spearhead the creation of the EBB program and we’re thrilled that the FCC is implementing it quickly. We encourage anyone who may be struggling to afford internet service to see if they qualify and then contact their internet service provider to apply. We are committed to ensuring Congress continues its work to expand internet access until every American has reliable, affordable service.”
The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is a groundbreaking new program that will help economically vulnerable Americans afford their monthly internet bill. The $3.2 billion program was created as part of the final omnibus appropriations bill in December and was championed by Committee leaders. Once operationalized, the EBB Program will provide struggling families a discount of $50, or $75 on tribal lands, off the monthly cost of home internet service, and may also provide an additional subsidy for a computer. Internet providers who participate in the program can apply to the FCC for reimbursement.
The FCC announced that providers can begin enrolling consumers in the program beginning tomorrow, May 12. Households interested in learning whether they qualify are encouraged to visit the FCC’s new enrollment website – https://getemergencybroadband.org/ – and then sign up for the program through their internet service provider.