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Take advantage of new Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

By Staff | May 21, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated the importance of Internet connectivity in Hawaii today.

“The COVID-19 pandemic transformed the way we live, work and learn, and made it abundantly clear that Internet connectivity is a necessity,” said Gov. David Ige.

“As many residents continue to work remotely, to engage in distance learning, to utilize telehealth services and to access government services online, the need is greater than ever before.”

The good news is that a new program established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) earlier this year can potentially help thousands of households across Hawaii pay for their Internet service.

Through the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program that launched last week, eligible households can receive up to $50 a month toward broadband service and up to $75 for households on Hawaiian Home Lands.

Eligible households may also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer or tablet from participating Hawaii Internet service providers if they contribute a minimum of $10 toward the purchase price.

“About 200,000 households could be eligible for this benefit, which will help Hawaii residents get or remain connected,” Gov. Ige noted.

This program is funded through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 — passed by Congress in December 2020 — which established the Emergency Broadband Connectivity Fund and allocated $3.2 billion for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program.

“Now more than ever, Internet access has become essential for every household,” said Burt Lum, strategic officer for the Hawaii Broadband Initiative, State of Hawaii.

“This new program has the potential to create more digital equity in Hawaii by providing our island residents who are suffering during this pandemic with the connectivity tools they need to live and thrive in today’s digital world.”

For more information on the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program and how to apply, visit broadband.hawaii.gov/ebb.