New program gives discounts for broadband to local eligible households
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — American Samoa TeleCommunications Authority and Bluesky Communications “have elected to participate” in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB Program), a new initiative by the US Federal Communications Commission, according to FCC public records.
Samoa News learned about the new program in late March this year from a US based advocate, who pointed out that none of the two telecom providers in the territory had elected to participate at the time, while many providers across the country elected to do so.
FCC’s latest update of the EBB program, shows that ASTCA and Bluesky are now on the list of telecom providers, who have joined providing fixed broadband, which is the services provided to your home, or a single location. These include cable, fiber optic, DSL, and fixed wireless services.
Also part of the program is mobile broadband services that are device-based and available throughout the service provider’s cellular coverage area, similar to cell phone services.
According to FCC this new program is to help families and households struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. This new benefit will connect eligible households to jobs, critical healthcare services, virtual classrooms, and so much more.
"We need to use all available tools to get 100% of us connected in this country and this program is an essential part of making that happen." says FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, in a quote posted to the program’s webpage (fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit)
The EBB program will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands, according to FCC.
Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.