Published: May 12, 2021
By: Emily Wood | LSU Manship School News Service
The Federal Communications Commission began taking applications Wednesday for the Emergency Broadband Benefit, a program to help American families and individuals struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The program will provide a discount of up to $50 per month for qualifying households and $75 per month for qualifying households on tribal lands. The discount will go towards broadband service.
Qualifying households also may receive an additional $100 discount to purchase a desktop computer, laptop or tablet from a provider that agrees to pay at least $10 and less than $50 of the cost.
“We can flip a switch right now and everybody can have all the internet they need, but that does not mean everyone can get it because they cannot afford it,” said Leslie Durham, chair of Broadband for Everyone in Louisiana.
In Louisiana’s Legislature, House Bill 465, to auction off parts of the allocated 4.9 GHz in Louisiana, is awaiting final passage in the Senate. If passed, the bill would allow a winning bidder a three-year trial period with the high-speed spectrum.
The spectrum, along with the discount from the FCC, will provide faster internet service to people in Louisiana’s rural communities.
“Broadband is vital to the successful heath of our rural communities,” said Durham. “What we are doing if we cut ourselves short with broadband is deciding what community dies and what community lives. “
A household can qualify for the FCC’s discount if it meets at least one of the following criteria:
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