Sign up now for FCC’s emergency broadband discount — there are 3 ways to sign up
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The US Federal Communications Commission announced last Friday that starting on May 12th its Emergency Broadband Benefit will make available to consumers substantial discounts on broadband service and computers.
This pandemic-related program will continue until the $3.2 billion in federal funding runs out or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the pandemic, according to the FCC fact-sheet.
Locally based American Samoa TeleCommuncations Authority (ASTCA) and Bluesky Communications are among the more than 800 broadband providers in US states and territories taking part in the program.
And the benefit is available to eligible new, prior, and existing customers of participating providers, according to the FCC fact sheet, which also states that there are three ways to sign up for this program:
• contact a participating provider to sign up (in American Samoa’s case, its ASTCA and Bluesky);
• enroll online at www.getemergencybroadband.org; or
• sign up via mail.
The FCC reminds consumers that this is a temporary program. When it ends, participating providers must give notice to customers and inform them of the cost for their plan after the discount ends. Importantly, consumers will need to opt-in to continue with the service.
To be eligible for this program — if one person in the household:
• Demonstrates low income, at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty level; o Participates in assistance programs including SNAP, Medicaid, or Lifeline; o Relies on free and reduced-price school meals;
• Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
• Suffered a large loss in income during pandemic due to 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 other eligibility criteria for a participating provider's existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
ASTCA has started announcing the sign up for this benefit program on its Facebook page.
The 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.