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City encourages residents to apply for FCC Emergency Broadband Benefit program
The City of San Marcos is encouraging residents to apply for a temporary program that could help lower the cost of broadband internet service for households impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Federal Communications Commission Emergency Broadband Benefit program launched in May and offers a discount of up to $50 per month for broadband service. The $3.2 billion program also provides a $100 per household discount toward a one-time purchase of a computer, laptop, or tablet if the household contributes more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase.
The city said to be eligible for the program, a member of a household must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Has an income at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs including SNAP or Medicaid.
- Approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year.
- Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year.
- Experienced a substantial loss of income through job loss or furlough since Feb. 29, 2020 and had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers.
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
Program enrollment began on May 12 and 2.3 million have already received assistance, according to the FCC. Funding, however, is still available for additional applicants. The program will continue until all funding has been exhausted, the city said.
Eligible households may enroll through a participating broadband provider, online, or by mail. Participating providers in the San Marcos area include AT&T, CenturyLink, Grande Communications, Spectrum, T-Mobile and Verizon.
Information provided by the City of San Marcos