The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released a request for comment on the agency’s plans to launch a $3.2 billion program aimed at providing discounted broadband services to low-income Americans.
FCC said Monday that its Wireline Competition Bureau is seeking feedback on the proposed Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, which comes as part of efforts to comply with the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.
The agency will direct participating telecommunications providers to provide a monthly discount of up to $50 for eligible households. Tribal lands will be eligible for up to $75 in monthly slashed rates, according to the FCC. The discount will cover the standard rate for internet access and related equipment.
Providers may also choose to additionally shoulder costs for connected devices such as tablets, laptops and desktop computers. FCC will provide a maximum of $100 in single reimbursements for each device that the provider will charge to the eligible household at $10 to $50.
Ajit Pai, chairman of the FCC, said the program builds on efforts to accelerate the Keep Americans Connected program in June 2020. He noted that his team is “moving quickly” with the effort to address connectivity needs amid the pandemic.