Emergency Broadband Benefit

Emergency Broadband Benefit

Internet Options Are Limited

If you live in Pine County, Kanabec County, or even just drive through, you know internet service is limited, at best. If you are relying on your cell phone service for internet, it’s even worse. There are limited options for broadband service, and those options available can seem expensive in our rural areas.

Emergency Broadband Benefit Helps To Lower Costs

Today, we announce that we are 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 on-going COVID-19 pandemic.

The $3.2B Emergency Broadband Benefit program provides a discount of up to a $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.

Do You Qualify?

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;
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
  • Experienced a substantial loss of income through job loss or furlough since 2/29/20 and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 (single) and $198,000 (joint filers); or
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.

Emergency Broadband Benefit enrollment will begin (opened) on May 12, 2021. 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 9AM and 9PM any day of the week.

If you already have personal or commercial internet service, you may want to think about potential cyber risks. Now is also a good time to consider Cyber Insurance! Ask us if it’s something you should consider!

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