Federal Communication Commission announces service providers involved in Emergency Broadband Benefit program Featured

Federal Communication Commission announces service providers involved in Emergency Broadband Benefit program Federal Communication Commission Image

With the COVID-19 pandemic highlighting the increased need of broadband internet access, the Federal Communication Commission is nearing an end of its efforts to help increase access across the country.

An enrollment date for the FCC's $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit program is still pending, however, the FCC has released its list of broadband providers who have signed on to participate. Among the 319 providers nationwide, 19 of those include Kansas-based companies including ValuNet Fiber.

ValuNet Marketing Manager Kala Maxfield says while she wishes coronavirus never entered the picture, it's her opinion that the virus' presence over the past year has greatly accelerated broadband implementation in rural communities across the country.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit provides several opportunities to those who qualify including up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on Tribal lands. A one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers is also available to eligible households so long as they contribute $10-$50 toward the purchase price. Only one purchase or service discount is permitted for each qualifying home.

In order to qualify for the benefit, one member of a household must meet one of the following criteria.

·Qualify for the Lifeline Program
·Receive free or reduced-price school lunch or breakfast benefits
·Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current year
·Experienced a substantial loss of income since February 2020 and a total 2020 income below $99,000 for single filers or $198,000 for joint filers
·Meet the criteria for a participating provider exiting low-income or COIVD-19 program.

Though an exact date has not been set for enrollment, current expectations are that the benefit may be available before the end of April. At this time, residents are asked to not contact broadband providers about the program as the details of its implementation are still in development.

Stay with KVOE, KVOE.com and KVOE social media for more information as it becomes available.

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