We know that many families here in Michigan still do not have access to reliable, high-speed internet. This makes learning and working in the 21st century increasingly difficult. As we have all had to rely on virtual tools to get through the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to bridge the digital divide and equip Michiganders with the tools they need to succeed. These exciting federal programs will be instrumental in expanding access to crucial broadband services.
Emergency Broadband Benefit
This is a program that will provide a discount of up to $50 per month off a qualifying household’s internet bill (and up to $75 per month for households on tribal lands). In addition, some internet service providers are also providing discounts on the purchase of internet-capable devices, like laptop computers.
More than one million Americans enrolled in this program during its first week. Some of the most common ways that families qualify are:
- They participate in SNAP, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, Federal Public Housing Assistance, or Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit,
- They experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020, and had a total household income in 2020 below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers,
- They received a federal Pell Grant in the current award year,
- They were approved for benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program,
- They meet the eligibility criteria for their internet service provider’s pre-existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
Visit www.GetEmergencyBroadband.org to learn more and enroll, call 833-511-0311 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. any day of the week, or sign up directly with your internet service provider.
A full list of the internet service providers in our state that are offering the Emergency Broadband Benefit program can be found here. Providers can sign up at any time to become an EBB provider.
Broadband Infrastructure Grants Available through NTIA
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration has released the rules for the Broadband Infrastructure Grant program that was created under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. This program will provide a total of $288 million in grants to public-private partnerships established to expand broadband service.
Emergency Connectivity Fund Grants Soon to Be Available through FCC
The Federal Communications Commission has released a Report and Order providing details about the Emergency Connectivity Fund created under the American Rescue Plan, which will provide $7.1 billion in grants that can support schools and libraries in providing connectivity to students, school staff, and library patrons who would otherwise lack access to connected devices and high-speed internet service sufficient for remote learning.