Emergency Broadband Benefit Surpasses 2.3M Households

Regulation | June 09, 2021 | by Juliana Bilowich

The new internet discount program has enrolled eligible households in all 50 states and territories; a new program "tracker" provides updates on enrollment and funding drawdown. 

The Federal Communications Commission has announced a milestone for the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB), a program launched this year to increase internet connectivity access for low-income households. Currently in its third week, the federal program has enrolled more that 2.3million households across the country, including in all 50 states. 

The FCC and its implementation partners also debuted a new dashboard to track progress of the EBB. The "tracker" updates weekly household enrollment by state, and shows how many households are located in tribal areas. Because the federal program is currently set to end once the $3.2m in appropriated federal funding runs out, the dashboard also provides monthly updates on funding drawdown. The first financial update is scheduled for late June. 

Over 1000 internet service providers (ISP) are participating in the program, which provides a monthly discount on internet services and a one-time discount on a connected device for eligible households. While some LeadingAge members have successfully aided residents in program enrollment, others have reported challenges with a challenging enrollment process and difficulty working with ISPs. 

LeadingAge will continue to work with Congress and with HUD to implement longer-term solutions to the digital divide in affordable senior housing communities.