FCC to offer new Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

TAZEWELL, VA (WOAY) – During the pandemic, households everywhere struggled to make ends meet, and many are continuing that trend even now.

To help alleviate some of the issues, the FCC recently voted to establish the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program.

The new Emergency Broadband Benefit Program provides up to $100 towards a computer or tablet, and discounts up to $50 towards broadband services for qualifying households. It’s designed to help lower the cost of high-speed internet service to those who are struggling to get the connectivity they need.

The Director of Technology for Tazewell County Public Schools says this new program will help many people in their area affected by the pandemic, especially households with children who depend on remote learning. 

“Technology even before COVID was crucial,” Beavers said. “But now with the social distancing and the different precautions, all of our lives revolve around technology. So having access to that broadband internet is crucial.” 

Tazewell County Schools already tries to help out with these issues where they can. For instance, they provide wireless internet access points at their school buildings. But this program takes things a step further and tries to put internet access in the home. 

“Keep them from having to go to a parking lot to access the internet.  They would be able to access it within their homes.”

This program is not only for households with children in school. Households that qualify for the program include those that already participate in a low-income pandemic relief program offered through a broadband provider, Lifeline subscribers, households with kids receiving reduced-cost school lunch, Pell Grant recipients, and those who have lost their jobs and seen reduced income during the past year. 

The program has not gotten underway yet, but eligible households should be able to sign up by the end of the month. Check with your internet access provider if you are interested in applying.

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