The Federal Communications Commission, in partnership with the Department of Education, has launched a nationwide program providing discounted internet access to all Pell Grant recipients for the 2020-21 award year.
The Emergency Broadband Benefit program offers a discount of up to $50 per month on broadband service for eligible households and $75 per month for households on tribal lands. Participants in the program can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer or tablet.
“It's critically important that as we think about recovering and building back better, we make sure we address the digital divide that has prevented access for so many of our students, many in our higher education space,” said Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “I'm really pleased about this partnership.”
Over 825 broadband providers across the country are participating in the program, including Verizon, AT&T and Xfinity by Comcast.
The Emergency Broadband Benefit is the nation’s largest-ever broadband affordability program, according to acting FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel, but it’s temporary -- Congress appropriated $3.2 billion to fund the program in December, and the benefit will only be available until that funding runs out or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the pandemic, whichever comes first.
“We're going to study this program, how it works, who we were able to reach, and it's my hope that at the FCC and with our colleagues at the Department of Education, we can return to Congress and offer some ideas about what a successor might look like,” Rosenworcel said.