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158K households have signed up to FCC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit program

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) confirmed that 158,333 households in Puerto Rico have enrolled in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, joining some 4 million others across the US mainland.

The $3.2 billion subsidy program initiated by Congress provides a temporary $50 to $75 discount on eligible households’ internet bills during the duration of the pandemic.

“We knew from the beginning that the success of the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program would largely depend on mobilizing trusted on-the-ground advocates and community leaders.  With more than four million enrolled households in less than three months, I say we’re on the right track,” said Jessica Rosenworcel, FCC Acting Chairwoman.  

“We’ve made terrific progress, but the FCC remains committed to building on this initial momentum so we can connect as many families as possible and help those struggling to get online,” she said.

So far, participants have claimed about $196 million in benefits, split between $187 million in broadband support and $8.8 million in connected device support.

More than 1,100 broadband providers have agreed to take part in the Emergency Broadband Benefit program across the US. Of those, 68 are offering fixed, and mobile broadband access to subscribers in Puerto Rico, according to the FCC.

The benefit is available to eligible new, prior, and existing customers of participating providers.  Customers can sign up by contacting a participating provider, enroll online, or sign up via mail.  

Households can qualify for the temporary assistance in several ways, such as through the use of existing assistance programs like SNAP, Medicaid, Lifeline or if a child received reduced-price school meals programs in the last two school years.  

The Emergency Broadband Benefit is also available to households who are eligible for a broadband provider’s existing COVID relief program, to those who have received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year, and to those low-income households who suffered a significant loss in income during the pandemic due to job loss or furlough since Feb. 29, 2020.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 30 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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