Luján, Acting FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel, and New Mexico Public Education Secretary Stewart Host Emergency Broadband Benefit Webinar
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján, Acting Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, and New Mexico Public Education Secretary Dr. Ryan Stewart hosted a webinar on the Emergency Broadband Benefit, a new FCC program to help New Mexico households afford high-speed internet service during the pandemic. The Emergency Broadband Benefit provides a temporary financial benefit of up to $50 per month for eligible households, and $75 per month for eligible households on Tribal lands. Following the webinar presentation, Senator Luján, Acting Chair Rosenworcel, and Secretary Stewart answered questions from Internet service providers, local and tribal governments, and advocates about helping eligible New Mexico households enroll in the EBB program.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that broadband is essential – yet there are still far too many families in New Mexico and across the country that struggle with affordability and access,” said Senator Luján. “That’s why I was proud to fight for emergency broadband subsidies in the December COVID relief package, and thanks to the leadership of Acting Chair Rosenworcel, the FCC has acted quickly to make this funding available to the American people. Increasing broadband access is a key part of our country’s economic recovery from the public health crisis. As businesses continue growing their online operations and millions of Americans continue to telework, we can’t allow New Mexicans who don’t have broadband access to fall behind. I will continue working alongside Acting Chair Rosenworcel and the FCC to bridge the digital divide, close the homework gap for New Mexico students, and get America to 100% connectivity.”
“The FCC enrolled over a million households in the first week of the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. But there are plenty of more families we can still reach,” said FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “I’m thankful for trusted leaders like Senator Luján for partnering with the FCC to help spread the word about this critical program, especially given the number of New Mexicans who qualify for the enhanced Tribal monthly discount. Working together we can help even more people receive the support they need to get online and stay connected.”
“The EBB could amount to tens of millions of dollars to help New Mexico families pay for the connectivity and devices their students need to learn in a digital age,” Public Education Secretary Ryan Stewart said. “We’re counting on school leaders to help us make sure families know about and take advantage of this program, which, along with other initiatives, will go a long way toward closing the digital divide in New Mexico.”
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 created the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB). EBB subsidizes broadband service for eligible households—defined as those households that suffered income loss during the pandemic or meet other need-based criteria specified in the Act, such as eligibility for school lunch programs.
Who Is Eligible for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program?
A household is eligible if a member of the household meets one of the criteria below:
- Has an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, which is $35,784 per year for a family of four in New Mexico; or a household that participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, or Lifeline;
- 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 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; or
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
How to Apply
There are three ways for eligible households to apply:
- Contact your preferred participating broadband provider directly to learn about their application process.
- Go to GetEmergencyBroadband.org to apply online and to find participating providers near you.
- Call 833-511-0311 for a mail-in application, and return it along with copies of documents showing proof of eligibility to:
Emergency Broadband Support Center
P.O. Box 7081
London, KY 40742
After receiving an eligibility determination, households can contact their preferred service provider to select an Emergency Broadband Benefit eligible service plan.
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