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New pandemic program will give eligible households $50 off their monthly internet bill

The Emergency Broadband Program was passed by Congress as part of a COVID-19 relief package in December.

Low-income households will be available for reduced broadband prices as part of a federal program to make internet more accessible during the pandemic.

The Emergency Broadband Program from the FCC is part of a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package passed by Congress in December.

It grants eligible households up to $50 a month off of broadband services and eligible households on qualifying tribal land up to $75 a month off. It also provides a one-time discount of up to $100 for any laptop, tablet, or desktop computer.

Applications for the program opened Wednesday.

Households may qualify for the program if at least one member has used or qualifies for the FCC’s existing Lifeline program for discounted internet.

Households can also qualify if at least one member has been approved for or receives free/reduced school lunches or breakfasts, has received a Pell Grant in the current award year, or qualifies for their existing internet provider’s COVID-19 assistance program.

Households earning less than $99,000 for single-filers or $198,000 for joint-filers can also qualify if they experienced a "substantial loss of income" in 2020.

The program will expire when funds are exhausted or six months after the federal government declares an end to the COVID-19 health emergency, according to the FCC. 

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