A new federal internet discount program

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

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in collaboration with internet service providers, 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, 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 page.

New customers and those with other existing services need to apply 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 the pandemic. 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 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.

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