The Public Service Commission says more than 106,800 Wisconsin households are enrolled in the Federal Emergency Broadband Benefit Program.
That’s about 20 percent of all eligible Wisconsin households and above the national average of 15 percent.
The Federal Communications Commission benefit provides a temporary discount of up to $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for homes on tribal lands.
“Affordability plays a big part in broadband access, which is why we continue to urge those who may be struggling to pay their monthly internet bill to apply for financial support while the funds remain available,” says PSC Chairperson Rebecca Cameron Valcq.
According to the FCC, 394,000 Wisconsinites lack access to high-speed internet service, and 1.5 million residents qualify for the program. The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is funded with $3.2 billion through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and will be available until funds are gone.
Eligible households for the benefit include a household that meets any of the following criteria:
— household income is at or below 135 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for a household of that size;
— a person in the household must receive benefits from one of the following federal assistance programs: Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Supplemental Security Income, Federal Public Housing Assistance, or Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit;
— a person in the household is in the free and reduced-price lunch program or the school breakfast program
— a person in the household has been laid off or furloughed since Feb. 29, 2020 and the household has an income of less than $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers;
— a person in the household has received a Federal Pell Grant in the current award year;
— or a person in the household can participate in their broadband provider’s existing low-income or COVID–19 program.
If a household is located on tribal lands, it is eligible if at least one person in the household participates in Bureau of Indian Affairs general assistance, tribally administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Head Start or the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.
People who would like to enroll in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program should contact their broadband internet provider or visit the FCC’s website: www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit