EBB Program Launches Nationwide May 12

May 5, 2021

Note:  This message is related to the EBB program – not the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) program that that will provide funding so schools and libraries can provide off-campus Internet and connected devices for unconnected students, staff and library patrons.  The FCC is expected to release the final ECF rules early next week.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program, which will provide free Internet to low-income families during the COVID emergency, will begin accepting enrollments on Wednesday, May 12, 2021 at: https://www.getemergencybroadband.org/.

Schools and libraries will not be applicants or direct beneficiaries in this program, but you may wish to notify your low-income families/patrons of this program and encourage them to enroll.  The program is open to all low-income families (not just those with school-age children) as well as any family that has a student attending a CEP school.


To assist with getting the word out about this program, the FCC has developed an EBB Toolkit (https://www.fcc.gov/emergency-broadband-benefit-outreach-toolkit) that contains a collection of social media, printables, and other content to assist communities, outreach partners, and grassroots organizers in raising awareness about the EBB.   These tools are free to use and can be co-branded and/or adjusted to your voice.  I have one request:  please do not forward this message to your families.

Program Summary: 

EBB subsidies will be up to $50/month for Internet access, and up to $100 toward the purchase of a connected device (computer or tablet) from an EBB provider.  Only one Internet subsidy is eligible per household.  Only one connected device subsidy is eligible per household, and the household must contribute between $10-$50 towards the purchase price.

Participating Providers in PA:

A total of 48 Pennsylvania providers have signed up to participate!  A full list is available at:  https://www.fcc.gov/emergency-broadband-benefit-providers#Pennsylvania (note: “Fixed” means home Internet service and “Mobile” means wireless internet services).  Soon there will also be a Companies Near Me tool that will assist consumers with finding which companies are offering service in their zip code area.

Application Process:

1. Applicants will first determine if they qualify for EBB benefits: https://www.getemergencybroadband.org/do-i-qualify/.  If the consumer is already receiving federal Lifeline benefits or participating in a vendor’s existing low-income or COVID-relief Internet program, they may not need to apply again for EBB.  The consumer should reach out to their existing Lifeline or low-income Internet provider for direction.

2. There are 3 ways to apply for EBB benefits beginning May 12, 2021:

– Online at: https://www.getemergencybroadband.org/how-to-apply/

– Mailing an application

– Contacting a EBB Participating Provider to enroll (using the Companies Near Me tool)

3. After they submit an application, the EBB Administrator will share the results of their application.  If they apply online, they may receive immediate approval.  If the EBB Administrator cannot prove their eligibility automatically, they will request additional documentation and instructions on how to submit those documents for review.

4. After the EBB Administrator approves their application, they can choose a company that offers EBB Program discounts and sign up for service.

5. The company submits reimbursement claims to the EBB Administrator for their enrolled customers.

Longevity of EBB: 

This is a Temporary Program.  Before families apply, it is important to understand that the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program will end when the fund runs out of money or six months after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the COVID-19 health emergency, whichever is sooner. Participating households will need to opt-in to continue receiving broadband services from their provider after the program ends.  If a household chooses to continue receiving service after the end of the EBB, they will be billed the broadband provider’s general monthly rate.

Julie Tritt Schell
Pennsylvania E-rate Coordinator

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