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BPHC Bulletin: Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

Funds from the American Rescue Plan can be used to support patients in accessing this.

You have an exciting opportunity to help health center patients obtain the internet access they need to connect with virtual health care, jobs, and education. Eligible health center patients may apply for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program when it opens in late April. This bulletin provides background information, ideas on how you can prepare to help, and resources.

Background

The EBB program lowers the cost of high-speed internet service to ensure people have the connectivity they need during the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency. By the end of April, $3.2 billion in funding will be available to provide qualifying households discounts on their internet service bills and an opportunity to receive a discount on a computer or tablet. The EBB program is similar to the Lifeline program with expanded eligibility, vendors, and subsidies. This benefit is available directly to eligible consumers on a first come, first served basis. For more information, see the recorded technical assistance webinars and other materials from the FCC-supported technical assistance provider Universal Service Administrative Company.

How You Can Help

  • Share information about the EBB program with patients.
  • Provide access to the internet at your health center and basic technical support so that patients can complete the application.

We encourage you to develop your plan now to support patients to apply promptly after the application period is announced; funds are expected to go quickly. Health Center Program strategic partners (Health Center Controlled Networks, National Training and Technical Assistance Partners, and Primary Care Associations) can support health centers in their efforts.

Resources

The FCC is creating a community of outreach partners to whom they will send important resources and information to be shared with consumers (i.e., health center patients). If you are interested, fill out and submit the “Become an Outreach Partner” form on the FCC’s EBB webpage. When possible, we will include resource materials in our weekly Primary Health Care Digest. We appreciate your help in ensuring your patient populations are aware of this valuable opportunity. Direct your questions about the EBB program and how you can support health center patients with enrollment to your regional Telehealth Resource Center.

The FCC posted a new consumer FAQ on the Emergency Broadband Benefit. The FAQ provides answers to common questions on benefit eligibility, how the discount will be applied to broadband service costs, and program length. It also includes information on the enhanced Tribal benefit and the connected device benefit.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched a new Emergency Broadband Benefit resource last week.   The tool allows partners and consumers to view by state or territory the providers that will be participating in the Emergency Broadband Benefit program.  Each listing includes the type of service offered, whether it’s “fixed” or “mobile”, and whether the provider offers connected devices as part of the program. Please note, the list will be updated daily to include newly approved participating providers. 

To view the list of providers, please click here.

A section on enrollment will be added once the program’s official start date is announced. 

If you have further questions, please email them to [email protected].

You can also reach out to Funke Oladele, Quality Improvement Coordinator

or Jenny Walden, Outreach and Enrollment Specialist

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