Affordable or free broadband internet service now available for eligible households, do you qualify?


PRATTSBURGH, NY (WETM) – After schools across the nation turned to virtual learning due to the coronavirus pandemic– internet connection and access became vital to many. Now, many people in the twin tears are now able to sign up for affordable internet access.

The emergency broadband benefit is a program to help households struggling to afford internet access. This will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying tribal lands.

“Over the past year especially I think most of us, if not all of us, have found that having fast reliable internet is crucial, whether it be school, whether is be working from home, families that need it for many reasons it’s so important so it’s a part of our everyday life it’s becoming a utility just like electricity and water,” said Bob VanDelinder, Empire Access Director of Marketing.

Federal Communication Commission (FCC) list of eligibility is below.

Who Is Eligible for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program?

A household is eligible if a member of the household meets one of the criteria below:

  • Has an income that is 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 provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.

Online applications for the program is experiencing high demand according to the FCC website.

The FCC lists thee ways for eligible household to apply.

  1. Contact your preferred participating broadband provider directly to learn about their application process.
  2. Go to to apply online and to find participating providers near you.
  3. Call 833-511-0311 for a mail-in application, and return it along with copies of documents showing proof of eligibility to:

Emergency Broadband Support Center
P.O. Box 7081
London, KY 40742

After receiving an eligibility determination, households can contact their preferred service provider to select an Emergency Broadband Benefit eligible service plan.

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