Luján Praises FCC Decision to Provide Low-Income Families with Emergency Internet Subsidies
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) issued the following statement after the Federal Communications Commission approved a plan to provide low-income Americans with emergency subsidies up to $50 to pay their monthly Internet bills.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made it abundantly clear that broadband access is essential – for learning, working, and staying safe and informed. But for too many working families, the cost of high-speed Internet is more than they can afford, especially as they deal with the economic repercussions of this public health crisis. That’s why I fought to pass funding to help families cover these costs as part of December’s COVID relief package,” said Luján. “Once implemented, the FCC’s emergency relief will allow thousands of families in New Mexico to stay connected. I applaud Acting FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel for her leadership in establishing this critical program.”
The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program first passed the House in the HEROES Act in May of 2020, and was signed into law in the Consolidated Appropriations Act in December. The program will provide eligible households with discounts of up to $50 a month for broadband service, and up to $75 a month if the household is on Tribal lands. It also will provide a one-time discount of up to $100 on a computer or tablet for eligible households.
Under the law, the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is open to households that participate in an existing low-income or pandemic relief program offered by a broadband provider; Lifeline subscribers, including those that are on Medicaid or accept SNAP benefits; households with kids receiving free and reduced-price lunch or school breakfast; Pell grant recipients; and those who have lost jobs and seen their income reduced in the last year.