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Funds available to assist DHHL lessees with broadband service

By Staff | May 21, 2021

The Federal Communications Commission has announced a new Emergency Broadband Benefit program utilizing $3.2 billion to provide qualified households with a discount towards broadband or cellular data service.

The temporary benefit will help to lower the cost of broadband service for eligible households impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program provides a discount of up to $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households and an enhanced benefit of up to $75 per month for qualifying lessees on Hawaiian Home Lands.

The benefit also provides up to $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 through a participating broadband provider.

A household is eligible if at least one household member meets one or more of the criteria below:

1) Has an income that is at or below 135 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid or Lifeline;

2) Receives benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, or did so in the 2019-20 school year;

3) Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;

4) Experienced a substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough since Feb. 29, 2020; or

5) Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating broadband provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.

The participating Hawaii Internet service providers for the Emergency Broadband Benefit program currently include: American Broadband and Telecommunications Company; AT&T; Charter Spectrum; Cricket Wireless; Hawaii Dialogix Telecom; Hawaiian Telcom; Selectel Wireless; T-Mobile; and Verizon.

Enrollment for the Emergency Broadband Benefit began on May 12, 2021.

To learn more or apply online, visit getemergencybroadband.org or call (833) 511-0311 between 3 a.m. and 3 p.m. HST.