New Emergency Broadband Benefit Program to Help with Internet Access to Low-Income
Governor David Ige today announced a new federal program that aims to assist thousands of qualifying households across the state to pay for their internet service.
Under the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program established by the Federal Communications Commission, eligible households can receive up to $50 a month to pay for broadband service. Qualifying lessees on Hawaiian Home Lands may apply for an enhanced benefit of up to $75 per month.
The program is limited to one monthly service discount per household. Eligible households may also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 toward the purchase of a laptop, desktop computer or tablet from participating Hawai‘i internet service providers if the household contributes a minimum of $10 towards the purchase price.
“The COVID-19 pandemic transformed the way we live, work and learn, and made it abundantly clear that internet connectivity is a necessity,” said Gov. Ige. “As many residents continue to work remotely, to engage in distance learning, to utilize telehealth services and to access government services online, the need is greater than ever before. About 200,000 households could be eligible for this benefit which will help Hawai‘i residents get or remain connected.”
Hawai‘i households are eligible to apply for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program if one member of the household:
- Qualifies for the FCC Lifeline program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
- Received benefits under the free and reduced-price school breakfast or lunch program
- Filed for unemployment or PUA or experienced a loss of hours in the last year
The participating Hawai‘i internet service providers for the Emergency Broadband Benefit program currently include:
- American Broadband and Telecommunications Company
- Charter Spectrum
- Cricket Wireless
- Hawaii Dialogix Telecom
- Hawaiian Telcom
- Selectel Wireless
Beginning on May 12, Hawai‘i households can apply for the program in three ways:
- Contact their internet service provider directly to learn about its application process and what benefits are offered
- Apply online at GetEmergencyBroadband.org
- Call 833-511-0311 for a mail-in application and mail it with your proof of eligibility to: Emergency Broadband Support Center, P.O. Box 7081 London, KY 40742
This program is funded through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, passed by Congress in December 2020 – which established the Emergency Broadband Connectivity Fund and allocated $3.2 billion for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program.
“Now more than ever, internet access has become essential for every household,” said Burt Lum, strategic officer, for the Hawai‘i Broadband Initiative, State of Hawai‘i. “This new program has the potential to create more digital equity in Hawai‘i by providing our island residents who are suffering during this pandemic with the connectivity tools they need to live and thrive in today’s digital world.”
For more information on the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program and how to apply, visit broadband.hawaii.gov/ebb.