Portland and Multnomah County residents can apply for a new federal benefit for monthly high speed internet access and for computers and other devices.
The Emergency Broadband Benefit is a new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program designed to help lower the cost of broadband service for eligible households during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The $3.2 billion-dollar program provides a discount of up to $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for qualifying households on Tribal lands.
It also provides up to a $100 per household discount toward a one-time purchase of a computer, laptop or tablet if the household contributes more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase through a participating broadband provider.
One monthly service discount and one device discount is allowed per household. A household is eligible if one member of the household meets at least one of these criteria:
• Has an income at or below 135 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid or the FCC’s Lifeline program;
• Approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year;
• Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
• Experienced a substantial loss of income through job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020 and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers;
• Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
Access the application with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) using an online or mail-in application. See getemergencybroadband.org or call 833.511.0311 (open daily 6 am-6 pm).
Local information is at the City of Portland, Multnomah County Library, 503.988.5123, portlandoregon.gov/oct/81463 or by calling 211 or 311.