The FCC’s New High Speed Internet Subsidy Program
- Posted: March 4, 2021
In the past, having a computer in your home felt like a luxury. Then, it seems like everyone had one. After this, it seemed like having high-speed internet in your home was a luxury. Now, it seems like everyone has this as well. Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean that either of these items have gotten less expensive.
Now, the FCC has approved a subsidy for low-income households to purchase high-speed internet and a computer. Who is eligible and how does the program work?
What Are the Benefits of the Program?
Recently, a 3.2 billion dollar federal initiative was approved to subsidize the cost of high-speed internet for households with a low income. According to the details of the program, households will be eligible for up to $50 per month for broadband service. If the home is located on tribal land, this subsidy increases to $75 per month. Even though these discounts will recur, homes will also be eligible for a one-time discount of up to $100 for a computer or a tablet.
This is the biggest program yet involving computers and the internet. It seeks to make technology more accessible to everyone, including Native Americans.
Who Is Eligible for the Program?
In order for households to be eligible for the program, at least one person living in the home must meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Someone must have lost their job and seen their income reduced during the past year
- Someone in the home must have received a federal Pell Grant
- At least one member of the home must meet the eligibility criteria for participating in existing broadband programs, including ones specifically released during the pandemic
- Someone in the home must receive benefits under reduced-price or free school lunches or breakfast programs
- Someone in the home must qualify for the FCC Lifeline program, which may include Medicaid or SNAP benefits
If one or more of the criteria above have been met, then the home is eligible for the benefits described.
How Does the Application Process Work?
The program has been approved by the FCC. On the other hand, a start date for the program has not yet been set up. The FCC is still working through a final set of obstacles before the program can actually be released. The FCC what’s the benefit to be made as quickly as possible. Therefore, it is important for people to keep their eyes open for application forms.
When the application is released, there are several pieces of information that individuals interested in the program should be prepared to apply. They might be asked to provide evidence of SNAP benefits, Medicaid receipt, school lunch vouchers, and proof of income statements (or unemployment benefits). These are supporting documents that can prove someone’s eligibility for the program.
Then, individuals need to be prepared to provide a mailing address for the benefits can be found. That way, eligible families can apply as quickly as possible.
What Are the Goals of the Program?
Right now, a lot of people who are desperate to access the internet drive to a parking lot hoping to catch a free Wi-Fi signal. Unfortunately, this is not only difficult but also unsafe. Using unsecured Wi-Fi connections can expose people’s personal information to harm. Now, families will have the money they need to access secure internet connections from the comfort of their own homes. Hopefully, this program will start soon so that families can access the technology they need to go to school, go to work, and handle their daily activities.