University of Wisconsin–Madison
Emergency Broadband Benefit

FCC launches program to help pay for broadband

Starting this month, the Federal Communications Commission is launching a new program to help people pay for broadband access. The Emergency Broadband Benefit program will help people struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic, connecting them to jobs, critical healthcare services, virtual classrooms and more. It will provide:

  • Discounts of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands 
  • One-time discounts of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price

Each qualifying household is eligible for a monthly service discount and one device discount.

“We are thrilled that the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program will be an option to help ensure all students have access to reliable broadband,” said Justin Mumford, Assistant Director for Student Engagement with the Office of Student Financial Aid. “We hope that any student who is struggling to pay for reliable broadband consider learning more of this program to determine if they may be eligible.”

UW–Madison CIO Lois Brooks added, “With the change to remote work and learning during this pandemic, we know that the cost of broadband access has been a burden to some families, and we welcome this relief.”

Who Is Eligible?

Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is open to:

  • Federal Pell Grant recipients
  • Households with students receiving free and reduced-price lunch or school breakfast
  • Those who have lost jobs and seen their income reduced in the last year due to furloughs
  • Households that participate in an existing low-income or pandemic relief program offered by a broadband provider
  • Lifeline subscribers, including those who are on Medicaid or accept SNAP benefits

When Can I Sign Up for the Benefit?

Starting on May 12, 2021, eligible households will be able to enroll in the program to receive a monthly discount off the cost of broadband service from an approved provider. 

How do I enroll?

Eligible households can enroll through an approved provider or by visiting the Emergency Broadband Benefit program’s website.

For more information

To learn more about the program, visit the FCC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit page.