Emergency Broadband Benefit Program
Important News: Congress recently created the Affordable Connectivity Program, a new, long-term $14 billion program that will replace the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. Households enrolled in the EBB Program as of December 31, 2021, continued to receive their current monthly benefit during a 60-day transition period. The transition period ended on February 28.
Consumers can apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program at AffordableConnectivity.gov.
EBB Program Overview
In the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, Congress appropriated $3.2 billion to the FCC to help low-income households pay for broadband service and connected internet devices.
The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program provided a discount of up to $50 per month for broadband services for eligible consumers. Consumers who live on qualifying Tribal lands received enhanced support of up to $75 per month toward broadband services.
Additionally, the program provided a one-time device discount of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet purchased through a participating provider. The one-time discount required a consumer co-payment of more than $10 and less than $50.
The Emergency Broadband Benefit was temporary. It transitioned to the ACP beginning December 31, 2021.
EBB Program Order
On February 25, 2021, the FCC adopted Report and Order 21-29, officially establishing the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program.
The FCC engaged the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) to implement the EBB Program, using the framework of the Lifeline program, an existing FCC program to help provide affordable voice and broadband service to low-income consumers. The EBB Program leveraged Lifeline systems like the Lifeline National Eligibility Verifier, the National Lifeline Accountability Database, and the Lifeline Claims System for subscriber eligibility, enrollment, and service provider reimbursement.
In an Advisory issued on November 22, 2021, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Federal Communications Commission alerted EBB providers, beneficiaries, and the public to improper and abusive EBB program enrollments made in connection with the USDA National School Lunch Program’s Community Eligibility Provision (CEP).
The FCC Office Of Managing Director and Wireline Competition Bureau announced mitigation measures for Emergency Broadband Benefit Program enrollments based on the Community Eligibility Provision in public notices issued on November 22, 2021.
An archive of EBB Program bulletins can be found on the program bulletins webpage.