Senator Kelly Announces New FCC Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

Today, Arizona Senator Mark Kelly announced the opening of the Emergency Broadband Benefit, a new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program passed as part of the COVID-19 relief bill in December. The temporary benefit will help to lower the cost of broadband service for eligible households during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Broadband coverage is essential for Arizonans to do their jobs, access telemedicine, get an education, and connect with family, friends and others.

The $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit program provides a discount of up to $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for qualifying households on Tribal lands. The benefit also provides up to a $100 per household discount toward a one-time purchase of a computer, laptop, or tablet if the household contributes more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase through a participating broadband provider. 

“With employment opportunities, education resources, and important public information easily available online, reliable broadband access is critical for all Arizonans, especially those living in rural areas. The cost of a computer or broadband should not be a barrier for hard working Arizonans, and I am proud to have voted to secure funding for this program that will ensure more families have access to affordable internet. I encourage all eligible Arizonans to apply for the Emergency Broadband Benefit starting on May 12,” said Senator Kelly.

Senator Kelly has continued to focus on expanding broadband access for Arizonans. Recently, Kelly and Republican Senator Steve Daines (MT) introduced the bipartisan Accelerating Rural Broadband Deployment Act to increase access to existing infrastructure that will allow easier and faster installation of broadband services. 

A household is eligible if one member of the household meets at least one of the criteria below: 

  • 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 the FCC’s Lifeline program;
  • 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 through 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.

Emergency Broadband Benefit enrollment will open on May 12, 2021. Eligible households can enroll through a participating broadband provider or directly with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) using an online or mail-in application. Additional information about the Emergency Broadband Benefit is available at www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit, or by calling 833-511-0311 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. any day of the week.