Emergency Broadband Benefit Program


The federal Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program can help households struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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  • The EBB is a government program that helps U.S. households pay for internet during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • $50 per month towards internet service  
  • $75 per month towards internet service for households on tribal lands 
  • One-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a computer or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price. 
  • Limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household. 

Eligibility

A household is eligible if any member of the household:

  • Is receiving benefits under the free and reduced school lunch program or school breakfast program. 
  • If a member of the household participates in one of the following programs, you qualify for the Emergency Broadband Benefit program: 
    • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) [Note: In Washington state this is called the Basic Food program] 
    • Medicaid Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
    • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)  
    • Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit  
    • Received a Pell Grant in the current award year
  • Experienced a loss of income, due to a job loss since 2/29/20 and the household had a total income in 2020 below $99,000 (single filers) or $198,000 (joint filers); or 
  • If you are currently on a low-income internet discount program. 
  • If your household income is at or below 135% of the Federal poverty guidelines. The below table gives the income limits:

There are three ways to apply: Click here to find a participating internet service provider in your area.

  • Option 1: Contact a participating internet provider to learn about their application process. 
  • Option 2: Go to GetEmergencyBroadband.org to apply online and to find participating providers near you.
  • Option 3: Send a mail-in application. Print an application in English or Spanish (instructions also available in 9 additional languages) and mail it, along with proof of eligibility, to: 

Emergency Broadband Support Center
P.O. Box 7081, London, KY 40742

  • If you are already on a discounted internet program that costs $9.95/month, this program can pay your $9.95/month internet rate in full while EBB program funds last. 
  • If are currently on Wave's internet discount programs, your internet speed will increase when you enroll in the EBB program. 
  • You can also use the EBB program funds to increase your internet speed while funds are available.  
  • You internet-related bills will be fully covered up to the amount of $50/month. 

Click here to find other participating mobile internet service providers in the area.

Home Internet Providers:  

Mobile Internet Providers

Providers with on-going low-income internet discount programs:

Home internet providers:

Mobile internet providers:

There are also other mobile service providers that are on the EBB. Look here to see whether your current provider is on the program: www.fcc.gov/emergency-broadband-benefit-providers#Washington

It is important to remember the EBB is designed to support internet service so if your current mobile phone provider does not also give you a good internet connectivity data plan, we recommend you look at another service provider options. 

*Ziply does not offer service in Seattle but is a service provider in other parts of King County

  • The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program will end once the program funds run out, or six months after the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services declares an end to the pandemic, whichever comes first.
  • To continue service after the EBB program ends, households will need to opt-in - or request to continue internet services - with their service provider.
  • When the EBB program ends, participating internet service providers must give households advance notice about the final date, or final billing cycle, that the full discount benefit will apply to their bill.
  • Seattle Comcast Customers: Once the program ends, your service will continue, the EBB and 2020 rate adjustment credits will end, and you will be responsible for payment at the full rates, terms and conditions applicable to the tier of Internet service you selected. If you do not want to continue receiving your service after the EBB ends, you can choose to change your Internet service by visiting xfinity.com/myaccount or cancel your Internet service by calling 1-800-xfinity.
  • Seattle Wave Customers: Wave will notify you in advance of the program ending. At the end of the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, you may choose to continue on the same plan at the full retail rate for the plan - without the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program discount and associated promotional credit - or you may choose to enroll in another promotional plan like Simply Internet or the Internet First Program if you qualify.

SNAP is the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The program is managed by each state, and in Washington state it is called the Basic Food program. 

You can apply for the Basic Food (SNAP) program by calling 1 (877) 501-2233 or submitting an application online at www.washingtonconnection.org/home

More information on the Basic Food program, including applications in other languages, is available at www.dshs.wa.gov/esa/community-services-offices/basic-food

Lifeline is a federal program that helps lowers the monthly cost of phone or internetservice for low-income residents. Eligible customers receive $9.25 per month* toward paying their internet bill. 

There are two steps to get on the Lifeline program:

  1. Apply and confirm you are qualified: Use the Lifeline programs on-line National Verifier application system at www.checklifeline.org/lifeline to enter your information, create an account, and see if you qualify for the program. If you cannot get on-line and would like an application mailed to you, call Lifeline at (800) 234-9473 or email LifelineSupport@usac.org
  2. Choose a phone or internet company: Once you are approved as qualified, you will have 90 days to choose a phone or internet company and sign up for service with them. You can also ask your current company to apply your Lifeline benefit to a service you are already getting. 

*Lifeline provides up to $34.25 on tribal lands.

No, previous unpaid bills will not disqualify you. Customers with a past due balance or a balance in collections are still eligible to enroll in the Emergency Broadband Benefit program. 

Yes. You are responsible for paying any amount over the $50 per month discount* the Emergency Broadband Benefit gives for internet service.

NOTE: If you fail to pay an amount due for service that is over the $50 discount amount, your internet service provider might downgrade your service to a level that is fully covered by the $50 amount. If you expect to have a problem paying a bill to your internet service provider, contact them directly to work on a payment solution.

*or over $75 per month on tribal lands

The Emergency Broadband Benefit program is available to those that have:

  1. Experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020 due to job loss or furlough AND
  2. Had a total household income in 2020 at or below $99,000 (for single tax filers) and $198,000 (for joint tax filers).

Examples of documents you can use when applying to show your job loss and income eligibility:

Loss of income documents:

  • Layoff/furlough notice
  • Unemployment applicationapproval letter, or benefit statement

Current income documents: 

  • 2020 state, federal, or tribal tax return
  • Social Security statement of benefits
  • Veterans Administration statement of benefits
  • Retirement or pension statement of benefits
  • Unemployment or Worker's Compensation statement of benefits
  • Divorce decree, child support award, or a similar official document showing your income.

For more information, visit https://getemergencybroadband.org/how-to-apply/show-you-qualify.

No, the Emergency Broadband Benefit program will help pay for services after you enroll. It does not offer payment for prior bills paid to your internet service provider.

If you have further questions, please contact the Cable Office at (206) 684-8498 or by email at cable_support@seattle.gov.