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Some Kansans could see a drop in their monthly internet bills

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DODGE CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – For some Kansans, relief may be on the way. The Federal Communications Commission launched its Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB Program), Wednesday.

The program offers discounted internet rates to households in need. 

Eligible customers can get up the $50 off of their monthly broadband and up to $75 off from Tribal for households on qualifying Tribal lands.

“Most service providers have rate plans that are going to be 50 dollars or less. So, it’s actually a way that they could potentially get free service while the program lasts,” said Jeff Renner, Customer Operations Manager at United Wireless.

There is also a one-time discount of up to $100 to put toward purchasing internet devices such as laptops, tablets, and desktops. This applies if the customer pays $10-$50 of the original purchase price.

The money is funded through $3.2 billion in federal dollars. Throughout the country, 825 providers have opted into the program, nearly 70 of which provide services in Kansas.

For many providers in Kansas, the program is a necessity as the need for the internet has accelerated throughout the past year.

“Things are put online, people are working from home, kids are trying to do school work from home. So, the need for broadband is definitely increasing and I don’t see an end to that,” said Renner. “Broadband has become a necessity to be able to continue to operate in today’s world.”

To qualify for the program, one member of the household must:

  • Demonstrate low income, at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty level
  • Participate in assistance programs SNAP, Medicaid, or Lifeline
  • Receive free and reduced school meals
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year
  • Experienced a large loss in income during the pandemic due to a job loss since February 2020 and a total 2020 income of less than $99,000 for single filers or $198,000 for joint filers
  • Meet the eligibility requirements for participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program

The discounts will last until either the funding runs out or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services determines the pandemic is over.

For a list of providers participating in the program, click here.

To determine if you are eligible for the discounts, click here.

To apply for the program, click here.

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