Emergency program to give people $50 off internet bill
Americans can start applying for $50 off their monthly internet bill on Wednesday as part of an emergency government program to keep people connected during the pandemic.
The $3.2 billion program is part of the $900 billion December pandemic-relief package. Millions of Americans did not have access to, and could not afford, broadband during the pandemic, a time when jobs, school and health care was moving online.
According to the Associated Press, it’s unclear how long the money will last, but it’s expected to be several months.
Tens of millions of people are eligible for the assistance, although the Federal Communications Commission, which is administering the program, did not specify a number.
If you receive food stamps, have a child in the free or reduced-price school lunch program, use Medicaid, or lost income during the pandemic and made $99,000 for single filers, or $198,000 for joint filers, or less, your household is eligible for the program.
You can still get the discount even if you owe your phone or cable company money, reported AP.
More than 800 cellphone and home-internet companies are participating, including AT&T, Charter, Comcast, T-Mobile, and Verizon.
People in tribal areas are eligible for $75 off their bill. There is also a $100 reimbursement for desktop computers, laptops, or tablets — in that case, people have to pay between $10 and $50 of the cost of the device themselves and buy it through their broadband providers, reported AP.
You can apply the discount to your household’s whole bill or use it to trade up to a more expensive offering and your bill is partly covered.
The FCC also approved on Tuesday a $7.2 billion program for schools and libraries to connect students in their homes. The Treasury Department is also setting up a $10 billion fund for improving internet connectivity, reported AP. The money for both came from the $1.9 trillion March pandemic relief package.
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