Need help with internet costs? Discounts of up to $50 per month now available through the national Emergency Broadband Benefit Program to qualifying low-income households

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in collaboration with internet service provider companies, has launched a temporary program to help families and households struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) provides a discount of up to $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households (and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands). Home and mobile internet service providers offering the EBB discount in the Seattle area include Comcast (Xfinity), CenturyLink, Wave, AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, PCs for People, and Human I-T. For a complete list of participating providers in Washington State, see the FCC’s program provider list. Current Comcast Internet Essential customers automatically qualify for the EBB program and can enroll directly through the Comcast EBB site.  

Wave Simply Internet and Internet First customers have to first confirm their eligibility through the GetEmergencyBroadband.org national verifier and then have Wave apply the discount. More information is at the Wave EBB site

New internet subscribers – or those with other existing services – need to apply to through the GetEmergencyBroadband.org national verifier to confirm eligibility and then work through participating internet providers.  

Families and households are eligible if they receive Medicaid, SNAP or other public benefits, are school lunch eligible, are already in the Lifeline program, receive Pell education grants, or have lost jobs and income during Covid. More eligibility information: getemergencybroadband.org/do-i-qualify.   

The EBB also has an element that enables internet providers to offer a one-time discount of up to $100 to their EBB eligible customers to buy purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from the provider. The internet providers that are offering this part of the program in the Seattle area include T-Mobile, PCs for People, and Human I-T. 

To see if you qualify and learn more about these programs, the list of providers and online application are available via GetEmergencyBroadband.org or by calling the national support line at 833-511-0311. If you are assisting others or spreading the word, the FCC Emergency Broadband Benefit toolkit offers outreach materials in different languages. 

The EBB will be discussed in more detail at the May 20th Digital Equity Learning Network of Seattle & King County.    

Emergency Broadband Benefit Logo

ADDITIONAL INFO 

Only one monthly internet service discount and one device discount is allowed per household. 

The program started May 12, 2021 and will end when the EBB fund runs out of money, or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the COVID-19 public health emergency, whichever is sooner. 

Am I eligible? 

Your household may be eligible for EBB if you:  

  • Participate in an existing low-income or pandemic relief program offered by a broadband provider; 
  • Are a Lifeline subscriber (including those that are on Apple Health (Medicaid) or accept SNAP benefits); 
  • Have children receiving free and reduced-price lunch or school breakfast; 
  • Received a Federal Pell Grand during the current award year; or 
  • Lost your job and had an income reduction in the last year. 

More eligibility information: getemergencybroadband.org/do-i-qualify/.   

The Broadband and Digital Equity team in Seattle IT has posted info and links on the City’s low-cost internet page.  

Residents who need a computer to apply for the EBB and scan in documentation can use the Seattle Public Library computers now available on a limited basis at the Beacon Hill, Lake City and Southwest branches and as other libraries re-open. A limited number of computers with internet access are available on a first-come, first-served basis Tuesdays through Saturdays during time-limited public sessions from noon to 6 p.m., with closed cleaning breaks between public sessions. https://www.spl.org/hours-and-locations/road-to-reopening/in-building-services