What the Tech? U.S. Extending Broadband Benefits

By JAMIE TUCKER Consumer Technology Reporter

With the price of everything seeming to go higher, the federal government is offering an extension of broadband benefits for millions of families to stay connected on the internet.

The Affordable Connectivity Program is a long-term replacement for the Broadband Benefits Program that went into effect as a direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic. That program provided assistance to make sure Americans who were suddenly working from home or children doing school remotely had high-speed broadband internet for that work.

The Broadband Benefit expired at the end of 2021.

The Affordable Connectivity Program provides families and individuals a discount of up to $30 a month toward the cost of home internet. It isn’t a check but most internet providers will discount the monthly bill. For those eligible and living on Tribal lands, the discount is $75 per month.

The Affordable Connectivity Program also offers each eligible household a one-time $100 discount toward purchasing a desktop or laptop computer or a tablet such as an iPad.

So who qualifies? Millions of people. If anyone in your home received a Pell Grant, free or reduced school lunches, Medicaid, SSI, or any other government assistance programs they are eligible for the discounts.

Additionally, a household qualifies if the total household income is 200% or less of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

For example, a family of four is eligible if the total household income is $111,000 a year or less.

The same family in Hawaii qualifies if its income is less than 127,000 a year.

You can see if you qualify by going to the www.affordableconnectivity.gov website. About 48 million families qualify for this program but most have not applied.

 

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