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UW Unit Promotes Emergency Broadband Benefit to Assist Wyoming Households with Internet Access

May 19, 2021

The Wyoming Institute for Disabilities (WIND), an academic unit of the University of Wyoming College of Health Sciences, has partnered with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to help build consumer awareness about the emergency broadband benefit.

This new FCC program will temporarily provide assistance to help lower the cost of broadband service for eligible households during the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible Wyoming families needing internet access for critical services such as telehealth, remote education and other virtual professional services may be able to benefit from this program.

The $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit Program provides a discount of up to $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for qualifying households on qualifying tribal lands. The benefit also provides up to 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 through a participating broadband provider.

A household is eligible if one member of the household meets at least one of these criteria:

-- 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 the FCC’s Lifeline program.

-- Approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the U.S. Department of Agriculture community eligibility provision, in the 2019-2020 or 2020-21 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 the household 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.

Emergency Broadband Benefit Program enrollment opened May 12. Eligible households can enroll through a participating broadband provider or directly with the Universal Service Administrative Co. using an online or mail-in application.

Additional information about the emergency broadband benefit is available at www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit, or call Ryan Rausch at UW’s Wyoming Assistive Technology Resources at (307) 766-6187 or email rrausch@uwyo.edu.

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