More than 1,000,000 have already signed up for government’s new $50 per month internet discount
The government’s new Emergency Broadband program is a big hit. Maybe even a huge hit. The Federal Communications Commission says that more than one million people have already enrolled in the program since it was introduced back in mid-May.
FCC officials have not announced an end date for the program, but initially predicted that it would run for four to six months. That means time is running out for you to sign up.
The most surprising thing to us is how widespread the program has become. THE FCC announced that “More than 900 broadband service providers nationwide are participating.”
If you had asked us how many companies provide internet service in this country, we would not have guessed nine hundred. We would not have guessed anywhere near nine hundred. In our defense, however, we normally deal with a very narrow range of those service providers, the ones who — as our website’s name implies — offer cheap internet plans to low-income Americans.
Here’s how al.com explains the program:
The subsidies are worth up to $50 a month on internet service and a one-time $100 discount on purchasing a computer or tablet. The benefit is open to households that participate in current low-income or pandemic relief program offered by a broadband provider; Lifeline subscribers, including those that are on Medicaid or receive SNAP benefits; households with kids receiving free and reduced-price lunch or school breakfast; Pell grant recipients; and those who have lost jobs and seen their income reduced in the last year.
Although 900 internet service providers are already participating in the program, it appears that some others have chosen not to join in. FCC acting Chair Jessica Rosenworcel had some harsh words for the laggards who aren’t getting with the program.
FCC acting Chair Jessica Rosenworcel, responding to reports that some carriers were not allowing customers with some plans to take part in the subsidy, told reporters the practice was unacceptable: “They need to knock it off.”
Rosenworcel said consumers asked to sign up for a more expensive plan to take part should file a complaint with the FCC and she pledged to follow up with carriers.
“They may be finding a way to provide service consistent with the letter of the law but that behavior violates the spirit,” Rosenworcel said.
A lot of Americans already qualify for this new subsidy. More than 33 million households already qualify for the Lifeline free government cell phones (also known as ObamaPhones) and if you’re eligible for the former, you automatically qualify for the latter.
Remember that this program was initially approved with enough funding to last for a maximum of six months. That means time is growing short for you to enroll and take advantage of the savings. There are rumours that Congress may extend the program, but no one knows for sure at this point.
So act now. Sign up for this big, unexpected internet bonus.
Eligible households can enroll through an approved provider or here: https://getemergencybroadband.org.
You can also find a complete list of all Emergency Broadband service providers here: https://www.fcc.gov/emergency-broadband-benefit-providers.