Dedicated to achieving universal service.
This important principle suggests that everyone in the U.S. deserves high-speed connectivity that is:
The USF + USAC + FCC
As an independent not-for-profit designated by the FCC, USAC administers the Universal Service Fund (USF). The USF is almost $10 billion and is available annually thanks to the companies and institutions that make universal service possible.
With the guidance of policy created by the FCC, we collect and deliver funding through four programs focused on places where broadband and connectivity needs are critical. These programs serve people in rural, underserved, and difficult-to-reach areas.
Keeping students and library patrons connected to broadband services
Supporting healthcare facilities in bringing medical care to rural areas
Lowering the monthly cost of phone or internet service
Expanding voice and broadband networks in underserved areas
COVID-19 Broadband Programs
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress created multiple temporary programs to help people stay connected during this disruptive period. The FCC designated USAC to administer these programs.
Note from Radha Sekar, USAC CEO: “Thank you to all the USAC staff and partners whose hard work and professionalism contributed to the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program successfully enrolling 5 million subscribers. USAC is proud to achieve this program milestone and to continue to work with service providers and subscribers to deliver the EBB Program.”
Beginning in April 2021, the EBB Program helps low-income households afford broadband services and connected internet devices during the pandemic. The Program provides a discount of up to $50 per month for broadband services for eligible consumers. Qualifying Tribal lands can receive enhanced support of up to $75 per month. It also provides a one-time device discount of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet purchased through a participating provider and requires a consumer co-payment of more than $10 and less than $50.
Participants can receive these discounts in addition to the Lifeline benefit.
The Program expires when funds are exhausted or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declares the end of the COVID-19 health emergency.
The COVID-19 Telehealth Program provides funding to eligible health care providers that offer telehealth or connected care services throughout the country and enables patients to access necessary health care services while helping slow the spread of COVID-19.
After completing a first round of funding in 2020, this Program will distribute a second round of funding in 2021. Amounts from the new appropriation, to the extent possible, should go to at least one applicant in each state and DC, since the date of inception, unless there is no applicant eligible.
The Program will end when funding is exhausted.
The Emergency Connectivity Fund Program is a $7.17 billion program that will provide funding to schools and libraries for the purchase of laptop and tablet computers, Wi-Fi hotspots, routers, modems and broadband connections for use by students, school staff, and library patrons at locations that include locations other than the school or library during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the initial application filing windows, schools and libraries will be able to apply for funding for eligible equipment and/or services purchased between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022 to meet the remote learning needs of students, school staff, and library patrons who would otherwise lack access to connected devices and broadband connections sufficient to engage in remote learning.
For more information, visit EmergencyConnectivityFund.org.