New program to bring affordable broadband to all Americans

Posted at 5:55 PM, May 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-11 19:55:17-04

SALT LAKE CITY — A federal program meant to help Americans afford broadband will become available Wednesday.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit offers 50 dollars a month towards internet bills for customers who fit one of a number of criteria showing they have a need.

The FCC provides this list of qualifying conditions:

  • 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 Lifeline;
  • 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 due to 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-19 program.

The program is funded with $3 billion and will end when the money runs out or the pandemic is declared over, whichever comes first.

Every major internet provider in Utah is participating in the program. You can call your provider and sign up through them, or you can apply online or via mail. The providers are required to tell you when the benefit is expiring and they can't keep you and charge full price unless you tell them to.

Qualifying people can also get discounts on computers.