Local AT&T and Comcast home internet customers can receive a discount on monthly bills through a new program from the federal government.
Almost 19,000 Mississippians have already applied for the FCC’s $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit Program since it launched in mid-May. The program is funded by President Joe Biden’s American Recuse Plan Act.
AT&T and Comcast are the two largest Corinth area internet service providers whose customers can apply for a discount of up to $50 per month. Other internet providers participating include Hughes Net and Verizon.
In addition to internet service discounts, residents can also apply to receive a one-time device discount of up to $100 on a new laptop, desktop computer or tablet purchased through a participating provider.
Targeted to help low-income households or those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, qualifying for the program is easy.
A household qualifies for the program if it has an income at or below 135 percent of federal poverty guidelines. A two-person household is $23,517, a three-person household is $29,646 and a four-person household is $35,775.
Households can also qualify 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.
Other ways to qualify for the benefit include if the household is already eligible for a broadband provider’s existing COVID relief program, those who have received a federal Pell Grant during the current award year and those low-income households who suffered a significant loss in income during the pandemic due to job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020.
The program is temporary and will end once funds are gone or the Department of Health and Human Services declares the end of the COVID-19 health emergency.
FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said on Monday over 2.3 million households had enrolled in the program.
“I am thrilled to see that the great need for affordable broadband support is being met,” said Rosenworcel in the release. “I’ve also said we need good data to know how the program is progressing and to inform any long-term efforts to address broadband affordability.”
Such information is available to the public through an online portal that also allows users to determine qualifications and apply.
Customers can sign up by contacting a participating provider or enroll online at getemergency broadband.org.
For questions or to access a mail-in application, contact (833) 511-0311.