We can never avoid and protect ourselves completely from any pandemic outbreaks. The covid-19 outbreak proved it again and made our life miserable. Many Americans lost their homes, jobs, businesses, and other livelihoods. But it is wise to adjust and cope up with the situation and find new ways to live with the disaster. This Covid-19 pandemic has also taught us to live through new paths and livelihoods. People have gone virtual in every aspect of life and work. Although many people manage to find online works, still millions of Americans have been struggling to regain their income sources. The federal government has come up with many plans and initiatives to aid those Americans financially. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has implemented some programs for helping people who are suffering financial crises and struggling to afford high-speed internet.
One of the effective programs is the EBB or the Emergency Broadband Benefit program. It is available for the people who are suffering from the financial crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This benefit is intended to help low-income Americans by providing free or discounted internet services monthly. So that everyone can stay connected to jobs, classrooms, businesses, health and other services, and virtual activities. The renowned broadband providers across the states have been providing the Emergency Broadband Benefit as the participant providers. To get this benefit, you have to be eligible based on some FCC criteria. Being eligible, you can easily get unlimited calls, texts, or high-speed internet and some providers offer smartphones and laptops also. We will provide the name of the top 20 best Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) providers.
About EBB (Emergency Broadband Benefit) Program
The FCC has designed and administered the EBB to help bridge the digital divide by providing residents with access to broadband service. This program was established to help people that are facing difficulties in paying their regular monthly broadband bills.
EBB, emergency broadband benefits is a temporary solution by giving you a discount on your monthly internet balance. You will get a moderate discount offer on your household broadband internet line. But you must be eligible based on some criteria to get this service. It is a limited-time benefit especially planned for low-income US households to facilitate high-speed internet with discount. This benefit program works almost like free government phone services. You will get this benefit during COVID-19 (pandemic situation) in 2021 with a six months validity. This feature can help you with unlimited data, talk, text, and also a tablet at a discount. That’s how you can connect to services like jobs, virtual classes, government services, and many more facilities. If you are eligible then you will receive the following services:
- Up to a $50 monthly discount for eligible American households. And up to $75 monthly for tribal lands.
- The discount is also applicable if you need to buy a tablet. Up to a $100 discount is applicable to buy the tablet. The discount rate depends on the tablet model and is applicable only once.
- Free smartphones and laptops for eligible households. But only a few Emergency Broadband Benefit providers offer this benefit.
- The services can be bundled with voice and data services with the monthly plan, the equipment rental facility is also included.
- This one-time discount is allowed per household both for the internet discount and tablet. It is a first come first served basis program, and benefits are temporary
Eligibility Criteria for EBB (Emergency Broadband Benefit) Program
According to FCC guidelines, there are some points you need to meet to be eligible to get the EBB program. Since it’s a program to aid low-income people only, you can enroll based on your household’s income. But people who are already participating in the Government Assistance Lifeline program are also eligible for this program. Some criteria including income-based eligibility, determining eligibility, etc. also can qualify for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. Here we are mentioning some of the ways of eligibility:
- The National Verifier by USAC– Whoever wants to be eligible, must check the eligibility through the National verification process. Follow the FCC approval guidelines, to be eligible for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. You may follow the national verifier policy. This is the most basic policy to follow when anyone wants to be eligible for the EBB Program.
- Income loss situation- If you have gone through unpaid leave or have lost your job due to this thorough shutdown, then you can enroll in the EBB Program. Here, according to FCC guidelines, people who got terminated or furloughed since February 29 of 2020, are eligible to apply. If you think you are eligible then apply with all the official documents regarding your job loss.
- Lifeline benefits- The federal government already facilitates low-income households with financial aids through the Lifeline benefits program. FCC makes it easier for federal assistant program beneficiaries to be considered for the EBB. You will be eligible for the emergency broadband benefit program automatically if you are already a Lifeline beneficiary. It’s good to share that you can enjoy both programs simultaneously. If you are already enjoying Lifeline through a listed service provider, then it’s great to add EBB (Emergency Broadband Benefit) with the same service. However, you still can enjoy the emergency broadband program and lifeline benefit from two different services.
- Household Income- If your income is below the federal poverty level, then you can apply for the EBB program. According to the FCC, if the income of your household is less than 135% of the federal poverty guidelines then you can register with the income statement. Let’s discuss a specific range of income that the guidelines say. For a single filer, it is yearly 99,000 dollars. It means if your yearly income is below 99,000 dollars, then you can consider yourself eligible for EBB. For joint filers, the yearly income should be less than 198,000 dollars. This range varies on state and number of family members.
- Federal Program Beneficiary– You can apply for the Straight Talk EBB program if any of the members of your household already get any of these programs benefits:
- SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) or Food Stamp
- FPHA (Federal Public Housing Assistance)
- Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Pell Grant for the current award year.
- Free School Breakfast Program or Reduced-price School Lunch Program
- Some Tribal Benefit programs refer to the eligibility of the EBB program
- Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) General Assistance.
- Tribal Head Start
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.
- Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
Application Process to Get EBB (Emergency Broadband Benefit) Program
You should follow some steps during the application process for the EBB program. Here are the procedures:
Contact the broadband service provider
If you are a new internet user then first you have to choose the participant provider of Emergency Broadband Benefit program. You should find out one of the best broadband service providers who work with the FCC in the EBB Program. You will get the top 20 best Emergency Broadband Benefit providers’ names in this article further. Contact one of them directly to learn the application process properly. There are so many internet providers available, based on the state you live in. Sometimes one company works for multiple states. But it’s better to find out if your existing service provider offers EBB. Most of the famous broadband service providers support EBB (Emergency Broadband Benefit) and we will mention details about them.
Check the eligibility terms
Before going through the main application process, you must know if you meet the eligibility criteria to apply for this process. The National Verifier will check your information and documents and will let you know whether you are eligible for this program or not. There are common eligibility terms that almost every provider follows. You will get to know your eligibility confirmation from the National Verifier within few minutes.
After getting confirmation of your Emergency Broadband Benefit eligibility Visit “GetEmergencyBroadband.org” and find and select the providers near you. Next, you will need to fill out the online page with your name, date of birth, social security number, and other pieces of information. Besides the information, you must attach certain documents to claim your eligibility based on the criteria. Before going to the next step, make sure of the validity of each piece of information and then proceed to the further steps. Wait until getting approval, usually it takes 3 to 5 days for the verification and approval.
Apply via mail-in
People sometimes struggle to follow the application procedure online. Here you can also apply via the mail-in application. Call: 833-511-0311 for a mail-in application. They will send you a copy. Download and print it. Fill it up with accurate information. Once you fill it, send it along with the documents. Make sure to check the personal information carefully. After filling in the information, submit it to this address.
Emergency Broadband Support Center
P.O. Box 7081
London, KY, 40742
The approval will take a couple of days to process. If you are qualified then the provider will contact you and ask for your desired plans. They may ask for some additional information and documents. You may contact them via email also. Stay connected with their social channels to be updated.
These are the solid processes of getting the EBB if you are qualified. Moreover, if you are not qualified then they will let you know. In that case, you can apply again with more accurate documents and information required by the FCC.
Top 20 Best EBB (Emergency Broadband Benefit) Program Providers
Many broadband internet service providers listed themselves in this FCC initiative to fight against this Covid-19 pandemic after effect. Here we are mentioning the top 20 best emergency broadband benefit providers.
1. Straight Talk
Being a popular wireless and internet service provider in the US, Straight Talk has already covered America sharing top network carriers with high-speed bandwidth. Now the additional advantage they will provide to the Americans is the EBB service. Straight Talk joined federal government’s ACP program to help people with unlimited data, text, and other features. This program also features nearly free tablets for eligible households. They have already shown their reliability and quality of services through their best plans and phones. Their network compatibilities are great with the strongest network providers like AT&T, T-Mobile, and other GSM and CDMA phones. These ventures made them the largest and the most dependable MVNO in the US. People find more interest in their affordable plans. With the “KYOP” program, you can switch your phone to Straight talk anywhere you move.
If you look for the name of the most reliable and widely ranged telecom companies in the US, AT&T should come up first in your mind. It is known as the largest network carrier in America. AT&T has been helping people join with the FCC in this ACP program, the emergency broadband benefit for eligible households in this pandemic crisis. AT&T always intends to provide low-income households in every possible aspect to help them connect virtually.
3. Tracfone Wireless
Tracfone offers wireless broadband to its customers with 5G and 4G LTE networks. This company also joined the EBB program with discounted internet and free laptops or tablets. They are giving 100 dollars off while purchasing a device to eligible households as part of the EBB program. You can get a new one if you add some dollars toward the purchase price. With the Tracfone ACP program, eligible users can receive free wireless service with unlimited talk and text.
4. Comcast Corporation
Comcast Corporation is a global technology company with two primary businesses, Comcast Cable and NBC Universal. Comcast Cable is famous for delivering high-speed internet through its brand XFINITY. Besides security and automation services this company also offers wireless cell phone and Internet services. This company has millions of customers across 39 States. Comcast always steps forwards with new facilities for their customers having commitment, integrity, and trust. They came forward with the Federal Government to help low-income households in this Comcast ACP program.
For home internet, Mediacom is one of the trusted names in the States across America. It is the 5th largest cable operator in America and also the leading gigabyte broadband provider to smaller markets. This internet and cable service provider delivers the best home entertainment for its customers. People trust Mediacom more than other cable providers for digital cable TV, high-speed internet, and phone service. It managed to create a huge network of digital television, traditional video services, and high-speed internet access across 22 American states. Mediacom delivers Broadband internet to both private and commercial houses through the advanced fiber network. Mediacom is a proud participant provider in the Federal Government’s Emergency Broadband Benefit program EBB, enjoy Mediacom ACP program .
6. Metropcs by T-Mobile
When you want the name of the largest, fastest, and most reliable network provider in the USA, T-Mobile should be the answer that comes to your mind. With its wide range of services, Metropcs owned by T-Mobile is participating in the ACP program by FCC. This reliable network provider ensures nationwide 5G network connectivity to all. The company always comes first with state-of-the-art technologies. T-Mobile provides services through its subsidiaries and operates its flagship brands T-Mobile, Metro by T-Mobile, and Sprint. T-Mobile is proud to participate in the FCC’s Broadband Benefit program which offers temporary payment assistance on internet services to eligible customers.
TrueConnect is known for its variety of network-based services. It offers nationwide wireless broadband networks, free Wi-Fi hotspots, and free android phones for its customers. TrueConnect operates as a Mobile Virtual Networks Operator (MVNO) using the T-Mobile networks. It offers a variety of customer-friendly services across all 50 American states and is one of the biggest Lifeline providers. Now, TrueConnect announced its participation in the ACP program considering the struggling period of low-income people.
Optimum already offers its customers faster internet speed with low pricing as one of the leading internet service provider in the USA. It has a variety of network services including video streaming devices, smart Wi-Fi 6, advanced fiber-based internet service, news service, safety feature in internet browsing, and many more essential and many other interesting features for its users. Optimum always tries to understand its customer’s necessities. During this life-threatening crisis of covid-19, Optimum announced a discount on its broadband internet service in response to the federal government’s new ACP program.
9. StandUp Wireless
StandUp Wireless has already been a low-cost network provider to low-income households. It’s been helping in Government benefit programs like Lifeline, Medicaid, SNAP, SSI, Federal Public Housing Assistance, etc. Now StandUp Wireless offers this ACP program also with monthly discounts on internet bills and tablets in certain states. With StandUp wireless, eligible households will receive unlimited data, free minutes, text, and many more.
10. Simple Mobile
Simple Mobile is one of the value-oriented brands of famous wireless service provider Tracfone. It works as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) that has nationwide coverage. Now Simple Mobile is participating in the Federal Government’s ACP program with its services and offers at a discounted price. It welcomes both the new and existing customers in the ACP program. Since its establishment, Simple Mobile has been providing quality service to its customers considering their demands.
11. Boost Mobile
Boost Mobile is a famous wireless telecommunication company in the US. Its voice calls, internet service, and messaging are great in service. Boost Mobile has been playing a great role to help bridge the digital divide among people from different financial classes. Boost Mobile already provides connectivity to US wireless consumers with no annual service contracts. It offers various plans considering the household income. With other popular services, Boost mobile joined the ACP program as a participant benefit provider to the eligible households.
12. Kinetic by Windstream
Kinetic by Windstream is one of the most reliable community partners for high-speed internet services. Kinetic provides broadband, entertainment, and security services with fiber networks and 5G-based wireless services in 18 States. Windstream expanded its services by joining the Federal government’s ACP program to provide broadband internet services to low-income households at an affordable rate.
Being a satellite-based internet service provider, Viasat has already been recognized as the best internet service provider to remote areas where households suffer digital division. It provides satellite-based wireless internet networks to every corner of the United States. Its network facilities have been effective especially during this pandemic as people tend to be more dependent on the internet and everything has been done online. It has dedicated all its network technologies at full force to provide high-speed internet under the Viasat ACP program.
CenturyLink is famous for its High-Speed broadband internet service. It’s a Fiber-based Gigabit Internet Network provider and people trust them for their speeds of up to 940Mbps. CenturyLink also features advanced Wi-Fi networks (wireless modem using standard technology, WiFi6). Their MyCenturyLink application helps to let you control your home network. CenturyLink is a proud and FCC-approved Emergency ACP program provider.
15. Cintex Wireless
Low-income people love Cintex Wireless as it is one of the largest Lifeline and Government Assistance program providers. At the same time, this company is the national top provider of the EBB (Emergency Broadband Benefit) program. With the Cintex ACP program, you will get a discount on your monthly broadband internet service bills and certain devices. This company considers customer satisfaction first. More than 1 million customers across America support them for their uninterruptible services. Cintex pioneered itself to be the first provider among others who provide completely free smartphones to their customers.
16. Hughes Network system
Hughes Network system is another famous brand for satellite communication that reaches every remote hill and rural area of America. Hughes Network Systems, LLC is the mother concern of the flagship internet service HughesNet. This company has innovated many network technologies and services for around 50 years. Many of its internet network technologies are now being used around the world. It has been providing broadband equipment and its services, software-defined networking, end to end network operation to businesses and consumers around the world. Hughes supplies half of the global satellite terminal market to the satellite operators. HughesNet has announced its proud participation in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC)’s ACP Program.
Sparklight is one of the Cable One brands and serves around 900,000 customers in 21 States. They serve both residential and business customers with a wide array of connectivity and entertainment. Sparklight is reliable for high-speed internet, Wi-Fi hotspots, cable television, phone services, and more. For many years, they have been providing quality service to their customers according to their demands. Sparklight is a proud participant in the FCC’s ACP program to provide fast and reliable connectivity with monthly discounts to eligible households.
This 8th largest Internet provider in America provides internet, TV, and phone services to its customers across 11 states. Those 11 states are West Virginia, South Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Hampshire, Maine, Maryland, Florida, Delaware, and Connecticut. They serve both residential and business customers with internet connectivity and entertainment. They have approximately 707,000 broadband customers in those 11 states. Atlantic Broadband is a subsidiary of Cogeco Communications Inc. this company is one of the renowned and famous cable operators among other companies. Atlantic Broadband is proud to provide FCC’s ACP to their huge numbers of customers.
19. PCs for People
Emergency Broadband Benefit EBB is like a blessing, especially for those who are struggling with the internet bill during this pandemic. The purpose is to contribute by providing discounts on their monthly internet services and gadgets like smartphones, desktops, and laptops. Pcs for People is one of the many Business and Government organizations that joined with FCC to provide facilities for low-income people. It has facilities for all low-income individuals to aid them with the highly effective impact of computers and mobile internet.
Under PCS For People ACP program, it distributes desktop and laptop computers to eligible recipients.
20. SFone wireless
SFone Wireless comes with a big network coverage across the USA. It offers free unlimited broadband service in Arkansas, Maine, Maryland, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. But it has the plan to offer this service everywhere in the United States very soon. SFone is proud to offer the emergency broadband benefit program to low-income households across the covering states.
This private-public partnership is a great way to prove that any united and cordial initiative can overcome any challenges toward the peace of the nation. We have been witnessing these excellent partnerships when the whole world is facing challenges. The internet helps us to complete any task with bigger possibilities. But when accessing the internet has become a big challenge for many US people during the Covid-19 breakdown, many organizations step forward along with the Federal Government.
Along with the FCC, these top 20 best EBB (Emergency Broadband Benefit) providers among others have been working hard to help households who are facing difficulties during COVID-19 pandemic situations. This program is keeping people stay connected where nobody faces any communicative discrimination due to financial crisis.