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Emergency Broadband Benefits Program Could Help You Save on Your Internet Bill

The Emergency Broadband Benefits Program Website

Are you trying to save money on your internet bill?

The Federal Communications Commission could help.

They recently launched a $3.2 billion effort to help people pay for internet.

More than half a million Wisconsin residents are eligible to receive money for their internet connection under the Emergency Broadband Benefits Program.

It’s a temporary discount of $50 a month off eligible households’ internet bills, and $75 off each month for those who qualify on tribal lands.

Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of $100 to buy a computer or tablet.

There are many ways to qualify for these benefits.

They include:

  • anyone who earns less than 135 percent of the federal poverty guidelines
  • anyone who participates in social assistance programs like SNAP or Medicaid
  • students who received a Pell grant this year
  • families who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches
  • some people who lost income last year after losing a job or getting furloughed.

Expanding broadband infrastructure is critical in Northern Wisconsin, said Alyssa Kenney, the director of digital access for the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin.
The governor is pledging millions of dollars to do that.

But even once that infrastructure is established, people need to be able to afford the service.

“For a lot of families, it’s an affordability issue,” Kenney said. “The infrastructure is there, there’s a service available to them, it’s just out of financial reach. So this program would help bring that cost down or maybe in some cases reduce it to zero.”

Kenney said the pandemic has highlighted the necessity of internet access for many aspects of everyday life – from going to school to receiving healthcare.

She said this is a useful step toward solving a multi-faceted problem.

You can apply for the EBB program through your internet service provider or through the FCC at getemergencybroadband.org.

You can also call 833-511-0311 for a mail-in application.

Erin Gottsacker worked at WXPR as a Morning Edition host and reporter from December 2020 to January 2023. During her time at the station, Erin reported on the issues that matter most in the Northwoods.
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