You could be eligible for a discount of up to $50/month toward broadband service. The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is a national FCC program to help households pay for internet service during the pandemic.

Who Is Eligible for the Emergency Broadband Benefit?

A household is eligible if one member of the household:

  • Qualifies for the Lifeline (https://www.fcc.gov/lifeline-consumers) program, including those who are on Medicaid or receive SNAP benefits;
  • Receives benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, or did so in the 2019-2020 school year;
  • Experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020, and the household had a total income in 2020 below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers;
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant in the current award year; or
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.

Apply Now for the Emergency
Broadband Benefit Program

Frequently Asked Questions

How much of a discount will I receive on my internet service? If eligible, you will receive a monthly discount of up to $50.

Do I receive the funds directly each month? No, the Emergency Broadband Benefit provides a monthly discount on broadband service of up to $50 per eligible household. WCTEL will receive the funds directly from the Emergency Broadband Benefit program.

How much does broadband service cost?  The discount will be applied to your broadband service, but the ultimate cost to you will depend on the eligible plan you select from us.

Can I upgrade my current plan to take advantage of the full $50 per month? You’re welcome to take any eligible plan and the $50 discount applied to that plan. You will be responsible for any additional cost of that plan.

If the service plan I pick is $40 per month, do I get the extra money? No. We are only reimbursed for the cost of the plan up to $50 per eligible household.

If the plan I pick is more than the monthly discount for broadband service, do I pay the extra myself?  Yes. You are responsible for any amount over $50 per month for broadband service under the Emergency Broadband Benefit.

Can part of the monthly discount cover WiFi Standard? Yes. The monthly discount can be used to cover WiFi Standard in addition to your broadband service cost. Keep in mind the total monthly discount remains $50.

Can my roommate and I each get a monthly discount?  The Emergency Broadband Benefit is limited to one monthly service discount per household, which is defined as any individual or group of individuals who are living together at the same address and share income and expenses.

Is WCTEL participating in the “new device” option of the EBBP? No. WCTEL is not participating in the “new device” option of the Emergency Broadband Benefit program and will not be contributing to any discounts for new devices.

Can I apply for the Emergency Broadband Benefit if I have a past due balance with the provider? Yes, eligible consumers with a past due balance or a balance in collections are eligible for the benefit.

Can I sign up for the Emergency Broadband Benefit if I am already a customer or if I was a customer in the past? Yes, the benefit is available to eligible new, prior, and existing customers of participating providers.

Can I receive both the Emergency Broadband Benefit and Lifeline benefits at the same time? Yes. You can also combine these benefits with other state and local benefits where available. They can be applied to the same qualifying service or separately to a Lifeline service and an Emergency Broadband Benefit service with the same or different providers. For example, an eligible household could have a Lifeline-supported mobile phone service and a separate home broadband service that is supported through the Emergency Broadband Benefit.

Everyone at my child’s school receives breakfast and lunch at no cost. Do we qualify? Yes. Households with a student enrolled in a school or school district where every student receives this benefit are eligible for the Emergency Broadband Benefit.

I live in a multi-unit dwelling (for example, an apartment building) and we pay the property manager/landlord a monthly fee for our Internet. Can I get the Emergency Broadband Benefit? Yes. If you qualify for the Emergency Broadband Benefit, talk to your property manager/landlord and ask that they work with us to learn more about the benefits that might be available to you and other eligible residents.

How long will the Emergency Broadband Benefit program last? The Emergency Broadband Benefit is an emergency program developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will end once the program funds are exhausted, or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the pandemic, whichever comes first.

How will I know the Emergency Broadband Benefit program is ending? We will provide notice about the last date or billing cycle that the full benefit will apply to your bill and the date or billing cycle that a partial benefit will apply to your bill, in addition to information about the cost of your broadband service after the program ends.

What if the program funding runs out during my monthly billing cycle? The end of the program may not be timed to your billing cycle for service. This may result in you receiving less than the full monthly service discount in the final month of the program. So you might receive a partial benefit in the last month of the program, we must receive your permission before we can charge you an amount higher than what you would pay if the full Emergency Broadband Benefit is applied to your broadband bill.  In other words, if you were receiving a $50 discount off your broadband bill, but based on the available funds in the program, there is only enough to provide you with a $40 discount, we must have your permission to charge you the additional $10.  

Can I continue to receive broadband service when the Emergency Broadband Benefit program ends? Households will need to opt-in or request to continue broadband services with us. If you don’t opt-in or select a new service plan with us, your broadband service will end once the program ends.

Will I be charged for service when the Emergency Broadband Benefit program ends? Yes, if you agree to continue receiving service from us.

FAQS ABOUT LIFELINE SERVICE

What is Lifeline and how do I qualify? Lifeline is the FCC’s program to help make communications services more affordable for low-income consumers. To participate in the Lifeline program, consumers must either have an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participate in certain federal assistance programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, Supplemental Security Income, the Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit, or certain Tribal Programs. You can see if you are eligible by reviewing the information available at lifelinesupport.org (click “Do I Qualify?”).