Residents are eligible to receive discounts on internet service and devices.
Lt. Gilchrist II and the Connecting Michigan Taskforce are encouraging Michigan families to sign up for a new federal program to help lower the cost of high speed internet service, which has begun enrolling participants on May 12.
The Emergency Broadband Benefit, a new program from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), is making $3.2 billion available nationwide for eligible households to receive discounts of up to $50 per month on internet service, or up to $75 per month for qualifying households on Tribal lands. In addition, some internet service providers will also provide a one-time $100 discount toward the purchase of a computer, laptop or tablet.
“With children learning online and parents working from home, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted
just how great the need for reliable and affordable high-speed internet access is in Michigan, just as it is everywhere in our country,” Gilchrist said. Internet service is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity.”
A household is eligible if one member of the household meets at least one of the criteria below:
- Has an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid or the FCC’s Lifeline program;
- 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 through 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.
In addition to the federal program, more than $20 million in Connecting Michigan Communities (CMIC) grants have been awarded by the Whitmer Administration to help bring service to approximately 12,000 homes and businesses, and additional grants are expected to be announced in June 2021. The economic impact of the CMIC grants is projected to exceed $25 million.
Beginning May 12, 2021, eligible households can enroll in the Emergency Broadband Benefit program through a participating broadband provider or directly with the Universal Service Administrative Company at www.getemergencybroadband.org.
Mail-in applications will also be available.
Additional information about the
Emergency Broadband Benefit is available at
or by calling 833-511-0311 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. any day of the week.
To learn more about the Connecting Michigan Task Force and related initiatives in Michigan, visit www.michiganbusiness.org/broadband.