The Kansas City Public Library is joining local efforts to facilitate a new federal program offering assistance to Kansas City-area residents and families struggling to pay for internet service and devices during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB), offered through the Federal Communications Commission, provides monthly and one-time price breaks for both service and equipment from an array of providers – AT&T, Charter/Spectrum, Cricket Wireless, Comcast, T-Mobile, and Verizon, as well as PCs for People.
Eligible households can receive a discount of up to $50 a month for home internet – up to $75 monthly for those living on tribal lands – and a one-time price break of up to $100 on the purchase of a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from a participating provider (with a copay of $10 to $50). The program limits households to one service and one device discount each.
Households are eligible for the EBB benefits if a member qualifies for the Lifeline program, receives benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch or breakfast program, experienced a substantial loss of income since the start of the pandemic, or meets the eligibility criteria for local providers’ existing low-income programs.
The Library and other members of the Kansas City Coalition for Digital Inclusion are assisting in the local deployment.
Interested household members can visit GetEmergencyBroadband.org to check their eligibility and apply for the benefits. Additional information, and assistance with signups, is available from the Library. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 816-701-3606.
The Emergency Broadband Benefit is temporary, lasting until funding runs out or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the COVID-19 health emergency.