FCC to Open Emergency Broadband Benefit on May 12

The FCC has announced that the Emergency Broadband Benefit program, which will provide up to $50 per month to low-income households to support access to broadband internet, will be open for applications on May 12. I’ve written previously about this program, and am happy now to be able to share some additional details that may be relevant to families in the Iowa City area. You can apply here after May 12, and you can view the list of Iowa internet providers who will provide service through the program here. All households that include at least one child who is enrolled in the free or reduced lunch program are eligible for EBB benefits.

What does the EBB program do?

The program provides a discount of up to $50/month to support broadband service and related costs for low-income households. Eligible households also qualify for a one-time discount of up to $100 for purchase of a computer or tablet device for the home.

Who is eligible for the EBB program?

In order to qualify for the broadband or device purchase subsidies, a household must have an income below 135% of federal poverty guidelines, or have a member of the household who is enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program, experienced a substantial loss of income during the COVID pandemic, or meets other criteria detailed here.

How do I apply for the EBB program?

You can apply for the EBB program here after May 12th.

Are there internet service providers in our area who are participating in the EBB program?

Yes, there are internet service providers in the Iowa City area who are participating in this program. Participating companies include ISPs that provide service direct to homes, along with cellular phone companies that provide service via a cellular data connection. Here is a complete list of providers in Iowa who are signed on to the EBB program, including a number of major providers in our area such as AT&T, ImOn, Mediacom, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon.

How long will the EBB program last?

Until funding for the program runs out or 6th months from program inception, whichever is sooner. As with any federal program, there is some possibility that the program could receive additional funding or be extended in some other way at a later date.

Where can I reach out to get more information about the EBB program?

The FCC offers EBB program support via email or phone.