As districts are looking to summer learning and extended learning plans, home access to internet will be a critical component. Families struggling to access reliable and affordable internet can reach out to the RemotEDx Connectivity Champions for help and information about the Emergency Broadband Benefit program.
Over the past year of the pandemic, the need for universal broadband has never been more necessary for schools and families. In the words of Jessica Rosenworcel, Chairwomen of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), internet has become a need-to-have, “from work to healthcare to education, this crisis has made it clear that without an internet connection too many households are locked out of modern life. It’s more apparent than ever that broadband is no longer nice-to have. It’s need-to-have.”
Ohio’s school districts and their partners made heroic efforts to ensure that every child had access to remote learning. The RemotEDx Connectivity Champions were right alongside them, assisting families as they searched for affordable and reliable internet service. Unfortunately, many of those families could not afford the level of service required for online, live, remote learning. Often, Connectivity Champions searched for funding to offset the burdensome costs of broadband internet service. Now, with the Emergency Broadband Benefit, help is on the way.
The FCC has launched a temporary program to help families and households struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emergency Broadband Benefit provides a discount of up to $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers. Among other eligible statuses, all students who qualify for the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program as well as all students in a Community Eligibility Provision school are eligible for the benefit. This flyer, available in color and black and white, provides more information for your schools and families.
Eligible households can enroll through a participating broadband provider or directly with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) using an online or mail in application. Learn more about the benefit, including eligibility and enrollment information, by visiting www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit, or by calling 833-511-0311.