Federal Communications Commission Announces Emergency Broadband Benefit
Enrollment Opens Wednesday, May 12
May 4, 2021
(Bemidji, MN) (May 4, 2021) – Today, Paul Bunyan Communications announced it is working to help build consumer awareness about the Emergency Broadband Benefit, a new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program. The temporary benefit will help to lower the cost of broadband service for eligible households during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.
The $3.2B Emergency Broadband Benefit program provides a discount of up to a $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. Paul Bunyan Communications does not sell computers or tablets and therefore is not a participating provider for that specific benefit option.
A household is eligible if one member of the household meets at least one of the criteria below:
• Has an income that is at or below 135% 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 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 February 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; or
• Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider's existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
Emergency Broadband Benefit enrollment will begin on May 12, 2021. Eligible households can enroll through Paul Bunyan Communications or directly with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) using an online or mail-in application. Additional information about the Emergency Broadband Benefit is available at http://www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit, or by calling 833-511-0311 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. any day of the week
Paul Bunyan Communications has the region's largest and fastest all fiber optic network with over 5,500 square miles throughout most of Beltrami County and portions of Cass, Hubbard, Itasca, Koochiching, and St. Louis Counties. The Cooperative provides Broadband High Speed Internet Services including the GigaZone, digital and high definition television services, digital voice services, Residential and Business IT services, and is also northern Minnesota's certified Apple Service Center.