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.
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 2021, $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.
You are encouraged 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.
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, resource materials will be included in the weekly Primary Health Care Digest. Your help is appreciated 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.