The Emergency Broadband Benefit is an FCC program to help households struggling to pay for internet service during the pandemic. This new benefit will connect eligible households to jobs, critical healthcare services, and virtual classrooms.
The Emergency Broadband Benefit will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on Tribal lands. There is a connected device portion to the EBB Program that NDTC is not participating in.
A household is eligible if one member of the household meets at least one of the criteria.
The Emergency Broadband Benefit is limited to one monthly service discount per eligible household. Current households who receive Lifeline will need to Opt-in to the EBB Program.
The Emergency Broadband Benefit is temporary. It will expire when funds are exhausted or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declares the end of the COVID-19 health emergency. At the end of the program, consumers will need to opt-in to continue their service without the EBB program benefit or services will be disconnected.
The EBB Program is open to applicants May 12, 2021. Consumers looking for additional information, or to apply for the Emergency Broadband Benefit, should visit: GetEmergencyBroadband.org
Lifeline is a non-transferable government benefit program that provides monthly discounts on one telephone service (landline or wireless) or eligible broadband service for qualified low-income consumers in every state, territory, and commonwealth, and on Tribal lands. You must be eligible to enroll, and you must recertify your eligibility every year. Federal rules prohibit eligible consumers from receiving more than one Lifeline service per household.
An individual may be eligible for the program-supported service if he or she has a household income at or below 135 percent of the federal poverty guidelines, or if they receive benefits from one of the following qualifying programs:
Consumers residing on Tribal lands may be eligible for program-supported service if their household income is at or below 135 percent of the federal poverty guidelines, if they participate in one of the five federal programs listed in the left column, or in one of the following programs:
Consumers must apply for lifeline support through the National Verifier (NV). The NV is a centralized system that determines whether subscribers are eligible for lifeline. The NV is managed by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC).
Consumers can apply through the NV at checklifeline.org or can submit a paper application along with supporting documentation to the lifeline support center. The mailing address for the support center is provided on the application.
NDTC is no longer able to accept forms or documentation to determine eligibility for the lifeline program. NDTC does have resources available at our office for consumers to access the NV Online.
Once a customer is accepted in the NV, they will need to contact NDTC to be enrolled in the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) and credits will then be applied to their service.
More information about eligibility and how to apply for benefits is available with the Universal Service Administrative Company. You may also call the Federal Communications Commission at 1-888-225-5322 or NDTC at 662-1100. North Dakota Telephone Company’s telephone service and broadband internet services are Lifeline and Link Up supported services.
Link Up reduces the cost of initiating new service to eligible residents of Tribal lands at the subscriber’s principal place of residence. Consumers can receive a 100% discount off of the one-time costs of initiating service. Link Up is a one-time benefit per address; subscribers can request Link Up once for each change of address. Broadband data only service is not eligible for Link Up assistance.