Emergency Broadband Benefit Surpasses 1M Households Enrolled

Regulation | May 27, 2021 | by Juliana Bilowich

The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) has surpassed 1 million households enrolled since launching in mid-May. HUD's Office of Multifamily Housing has emphasized elibility for the internet discount program for Multifamily-assisted households.

In the first week since its launch date in mid-May, the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) has enrolled more than one million households in need of internet cost support. The benefit program offers a monthly discount on internet services to assist households with low incomes stay connected throughout the pandemic. 

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which administers the new benefit program, announced that households in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa have enrolled in the subsidy program.

While the FCC oversees the program, the discount is implemented through local internet service providers; the FCC also announced that over 900 broadband providers have agreed to participate in the program, which is open to eligible new, prior, and existing customers of the internet service provider, including households with outstanding services fee or prior debt.

"The high demand we've seen for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program demonstrates what many of us already knew to be true - too many families are struggling to get online, even in 2021," said FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. 

Eligibility for HUD Multifamily-Assisted Households

HUD's Office of Multifamily Housing has emphasized to stakeholders that HUD Multifamily-assisted households are eligible to enroll in the EBB. A household is eligible for EBB if a member of the households meets one of the following criteria:

  • Income at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs such as SNAP, Medicaid, or Lifeline;
  • 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 due to 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 Internet Service Provider's existing low-income or COVID-19 program.

Encouraging Eligible Households to Enroll

There are three ways that housing providers can encourage residents to enroll in the temporary assistance program:

Resources housing providers can use to promote the EBB in your community:

Please check the EBB website, www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit, for the latest information. Questions can be sent to jbilowich@leadingage.org or to broadbandbenefit@fcc.gov.