Keeping up with the ever-growing fast-paced world counts among the most significant functions. The technological revolution spread across the globe has skyrocketed the need for smartphones and other devices to aid humans in every walk of their life. However, only some are born privileged to get a personal device, even to meet their basic requirements of communication and awareness.
To cope with this knotty situation, it is important to assure that every household must have access to a decent quality Internet and a smart device. Consequently, the EBB (Emergency Broadband Benefit Free Tablet) Program was launched to provide everyone with basic communication facilities.
What is Emergency Broadband Benefit Free Tablet?
EBB lists under the benefits program directed by the Federal Communications Commission to help the needy and poor families and households, This was mainly targeted to create a solid ecosystem to spread awareness during the pandemic Covid 19. Apart from this, the same can be taken by students, health care workers, employees, and other working professionals as well as non-professionals.
A monthly discount of $50 is allocated for eligible households that can prove their inability to afford a good wifi connection and smart device whereas the monthly benefits get increased for the tribal areas i.e. $75. Some unique Criteria are decided that must be fulfilled to qualify as tribal lands.
Also, if a participating household is willing to purchase a smart device for themselves, then they may receive a one-time discount of $100, but the contribution from their side must be between $10 to $50. They can choose to buy a laptop, desktop, tablet, or smartphone. The benefits are limited to one monthly service discount, and the one-time discount on purchasing a device is only one per household.
Though the EBB program worked well during the pandemic by serving many poor households and professionals looking for better communication devices, since the Emergency Broadband benefit was launched temporarily it is now replaced by the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).
ACP was announced on November 15, 2021, and came into action on December 2021. The program continued distributing the benefits among the recipients while the services of some households have been suspended after the transition. The concerned households or individuals may reapply to avail of the monthly offers.
Difference Between Lifeline and EBB
EBB was launched to deal with connectivity issues during the pandemic and was temporary. After achieving satisfactory results, the program was called off even before a year passed. The succeeding program i.e. ACP (Assitance Connectivity Progam) is also somewhat similar to EBB as there are no plans made so far to make it permanent. Also, a monetary budget of $14 Billion is already announced that would facilitate the citizens with good internet connection and smart devices. As soon as the budget will exhaust, there are considerable chances that the newly announced subsidy will also be withdrawn.
On the contrary, before Covid 19, Lifeline was seen as a permanent commissioned program that was also governed by the Federal Communications Commission. This also holds a similar purpose as that of ACP and EBB: to provide poor people with affordable internet. Currently, ACP is the action plan that can help one get access to broadband internet along with a monthly discount of $30. The financial support allotted for the ACP has seen a growth of 200% as compared to its predecessor, yet a drop in the discounted amount can be observed.
What is ACP?
Mainly focused on helping employees, students, healthcare workers, and other professionals, ACP is the new action plan for American citizens. As already mentioned the program will function under the direction of the FCC. These benefits are monthly, the amount of $30 for regular households and $74 for the families or individual that qualifies as Tribal lands. Along with the monthly leverage, a one-time $100 discount is also accompanied by other benefits which can be used to purchase a computer, desktop, or tablet. Similar to the EBB, this one-time discount is also limited to the first month( or any one monthly service discount).
ACP has always been seen as the permanent version of EBB which replaced its predecessor on December 31, 2021. With the new and somewhat similar working model, the limiting factors of the program have been expanded. The functioning will be done in such a manner as to outreach to more recipients, participating ISPs, and a wider range of financial assistance. To ensure the reach of this newly launched campaign awareness program has been run to give it a successful start.
Difference between ACP and EBB
Although the fundamental structure of functioning ACP is almost similar to EBB there are still some ground-level changes.
- The maximum monthly benefit is now has been reduced to $30 from $50. However, the benefit for tribal land remains $75.
- Now the interest and deservedly households had to follow a different procedure as compared to the older scheme. For in-depth details, you may visit the official website of FCC by clicking here.
- Numerous households got qualified for EBB by proving a significant drop in their overall household income since February 29, 2020. Many of these households also suffered due to job loss and fragile financial conditions during COVID-19. Consequently, such households got directly qualified for the program.
- But now, all such households have to reapply and qualify for the new ACP scheme and their support proofs. A brief of the same would be provided to such families about all the pivot steps and documents either by the program administrator (USAC) or by their respective Internet service provider.
- All the recipients may expect to get proper and regular service until March 1, 2022, and a responding period of 30 days would also be provided to these Covid-19 qualified recipients.
Only a few households will be proceeding with the reapplying process as the FCC has clearly announced that most of the households will continue receiving their new $30 monthly benefit without doing any extra effort. If any additional step or verification would be required then the circulation would be floated by the Internet Service Provider itself.
Eligibility Criteria for Emergency Broadband benefit free tablet
Any household that can provide all the legal proofs of the following conditions would be considered as qualified as per the Emergency Broadband Free Tablet program.
- Must have an income of or lower than 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Participation in any particular assistance program such as SNAP, Medicaid or Lifeline would be considered strong proof.
- Government approval for the free and reduced-price school lunch program or any other similar scheme like a school breakfast program in the school year 2019-2020, 2020-2021, or 2021-2022 can also get the job done.
- Being a recipient of the Federal Pell Grant during the current award year could also be strong proof.
- Bore a heavy loss of income or employment while having a household income of or below $99,000 as of 2020 for single filers and for the joint ones the amount raise to $198,000.
How to Apply for Emergency Broadband Benefit
To apply for the EBB program, you must first check your eligibility by visiting the FCC’s website or contacting your internet service provider (ISP). Once you have confirmed your eligibility, you can apply for the EBB program by contacting a participating ISP.
The ISP will verify your eligibility and enroll you in the program. They will also help you choose a broadband service that meets the minimum speed requirements set by the FCC.
As a part of the EBB program, participating ISPs agree to waive any outstanding balances or late fees owed by eligible households. They also receive reimbursement from the FCC for the discounted internet service provided to eligible households.
With the help of participating ISPs, low-income households can access vital online resources and stay connected with their communities.
Tablets provided in the EBB Program
Once you are a recipient of the benefit of the EBB program you will have a choice to choose your ISP. The choice would be based on the availability of Internet service providers in your area and upon your personal choice as well. The device will be made available to you after a short period of confirming your eligibility.
Choosing the model of the tablet is not in the hand of the recipient. It is mainly decided by the commission which is heavily influenced by the state you live in and the number as well as the brand of tablets available. Some of the commonly branded tablets that one may expect are -:
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S7
- L.G. G Pad 5
- Lenovo Tab 5
- Sky Tablet
- Older Apple iPad model
These model are delivered to low-income households and also contains almost all features. Thus, performing all the basic to medium functionalities that one could expect. Feature like WiFi connectivity, Bluetooth, dual cameras, sim card slots, etc., are tested and repaired to give the recipient a smooth experience with the device.
Read More: How to get Assurance Wireless Free Tablet
Role of Internet Service Providers in EBB
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) play a crucial role in the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the USA. Participating ISPs are responsible for providing eligible households with affordable broadband services and managing the program’s administrative tasks, such as verifying eligibility, enrolling households, and processing reimbursements.
ISPs that participate in the EBB program must meet specific requirements, such as offering a broadband service that meets the minimum speed requirements set by the FCC and agreeing to waive any outstanding balances or late fees owed by eligible households. In return, participating ISPs receive reimbursement from the FCC for the discounted internet service provided to eligible households.
This reimbursement covers up to $50 per month towards the internet bill and up to $100 towards the purchase of a device. Overall, the participation of ISPs is critical to the success of the EBB program, as they are responsible for providing affordable internet connectivity to low-income households and ensuring that eligible households can access vital online resources.
Benefits to Expect and Broadband Plans
The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the USA provides affordable internet connectivity to low-income households. The program offers several benefits, including:
1. Affordable Internet: Eligible households can receive up to $50 per month towards their Internet bill, making it more affordable for them to access the Internet.
2. Device discounts: The program also provides up to $100 towards the purchase of a device such as a laptop or tablet, making it easier for households to access online resources.
3. Bridging the digital divide: The EBB program aims to bridge the digital divide and provide access to vital online resources such as education, healthcare, and job opportunities to low-income households across the country.
4. Eligibility criteria: The eligibility criteria for the EBB program are designed to ensure that the program’s benefits reach those who need it the most. To be eligible, a household must have an income at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines or participate in any of the following government assistance programs: Medicaid, SNAP, SSI, Federal Public Housing Assistance, Veterans Pension, and Survivors Benefit, or Tribal-specific programs.
5. Loss of income due to job loss or furlough: Additionally, households that have experienced a substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020, may also qualify for the program.
6. Broadband plans: The EBB program offers a variety of broadband plans from participating providers, including fixed and mobile broadband services. This allows eligible households to choose a plan that best suits their needs.
Overall, the EBB program is an important initiative by the FCC to provide affordable internet connectivity and bridge the digital divide for low-income households in the USA. In conclusion, the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program by the FCC provides up to $100 towards the purchase of a device, including tablets, laptops, and desktop computers.
Eligible households can take advantage of this program to access affordable internet services and stay connected during these challenging times. Contact your participating ISP to learn more about available devices and their specifications.