TAZEWELL, Va. — The FCC recently voted to establish the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, a $3.2 billion federal initiative to provide qualifying households discounts on their internet service bills and an opportunity to receive a discount on a computer or tablet. The program was designed to lower the cost of high-speed internet service for those struggling to get the connectivity they need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This Emergency Broadband Benefit Program will provide eligible Tazewell County families with discounts up to $50 a month for broadband service. It will also provide a one-time discount of up to $100 on the purchase of a computer or tablet for eligible households. Under the law, the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is open to households that participate in an existing low-income or pandemic relief program offered by a broadband provider; Lifeline subscribers, including those that are on Medicaid or accept SNAP benefits; households with kids receiving free and reduced-price lunch or school breakfast, including those who receive lunch or breakfast through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision (CEP); Pell grant recipients; or those who have lost jobs and seen their income reduced in the last year and the household had a total income in 2020 below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers.
“While we have worked hard to provide access to households who do not have internet access at home through our wireless access points in the school parking lots and hot spots for online learners, this benefit program will help families to bring the internet into their own homes. It is not limited to online students and can, therefore, help a multitude of families within our communities. Families interested in participating should review the information at the website below for a list of participating providers and additional important information. I am pleased to serve as an outreach partner for this program, which means that we will keep our stakeholders updated by posting additional information as it becomes available on our division website,” said Cynthia Beavers, TCPS Director of Technology.
Although the program has been authorized by the FCC, the start date has not yet been established. The FCC is working to make the benefit available as quickly as possible, and eligible families should be able to sign up by the end of April 2021. Please visit www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit to see if your family may qualify for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. The Tazewell County Public Schools website (www.tcpsva.org) will also provide updates and information about the program as it is made available.