internet access for home schooling
(fizkes/Shutterstock)

FCC Approves $50 Monthly Internet Subsidies for Families with Financial Challenges

The Federal Communications Commission has approved a new broadband subsidy program designed to help families that have been struggling with the increased cost of internet access for schooling, work and other issues.

According to Brian Fung of CNN Business, “The agency’s $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit Program provides eligible low-income households with up to a $50 per month credit on their internet bills through their provider until the end of the pandemic.” For Indigenous people in remote tribal areas where internet access is often even harder to come by, that subsidy grows to $75 per month. The program also includes a $100 rebate for eligible households on the purchase of one computer or tablet.

“The congressionally created program is aimed at closing the digital divide, which has become painfully apparent over the past year as millions of Americans have been forced to work and learn remotely,” Fung reported. “Some have also raised concerns that the digital divide could affect access to the [COVID-19] vaccine as signups typically happen online.”

Lack of stable or available internet is an ongoing problem in many parts of rural America. The cost of access is also a hardship for many people living in lower-income urban areas. The FCC has estimated that as many as 21 million Americans lack high-speed internet but believe that number is much higher.

Jessica Rosenworcel, the FCC’s acting chairwoman, said that signups for the subsidies could begin within 60 days. The agency is currently working with internet providers to put rules and policies for the program in place.

“This is a program that will help those at risk of digital disconnection,” Rosenworcel said in a statement. “It will help those sitting in cars in parking lots just to catch a Wi-Fi signal to go online for work. It will help those lingering outside the library with a laptop just to get a wireless signal for remote learning. It will help those who worry about choosing between paying a broadband bill and paying rent or buying groceries.”

“Households eligible for the program include those who use food stamps, are on Medicaid or who have received a Pell grant,” Fung reported. “Also eligible are those who’ve lost their jobs during the pandemic.” 

 

Related: For more recent diversity and inclusion news, click here.

 

Latest News

CDO Series: Humana’s Carolyn Tandy

Following the murder of George Floyd, the role of Chief Diversity Officers has become more important as companies started to be more intentional with their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, which has made the last few years tumultuous for many CDOs. In the first interview of a series of articles…

The Importance of Education-Focused Community Partnerships

Community partnerships focused on education are vital to creating and improving the network that connects diverse, underrepresented students and young professionals with employers seeking new talent. For Stephanie Turner, VP of Inclusion, Diversity and Social Innovation at MITRE, advocation starts at the root of education: grade school curriculum, especially in…

5 Biggest News Stories of the Week: August 4

As the saying goes, the news never stops — but there’s a lot of it out there, and all of it doesn’t always pertain to our readers. In this weekly news roundup, we’ll cover the top news stories that matter most to our diversity focused audience. 1. The Supreme Court’s…

Mastercard Names Ellen Jackowski Chief Sustainability Officer

Originally published at mastercard.com. Mastercard ranked No. 2 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2022.   Mastercard announced Ellen Jackowski will join the company as Chief Sustainability Officer starting July 25, 2022. In this role, she will be instrumental in further integrating Mastercard’s Environmental, Social and Governance…

Seven Startups Join Mastercard Start Path Program, Supporting Underrepresented Founders

Originally published at mastercard.com. Mastercard ranked No. 2 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2022.   Mastercard is expanding its award-winning Start Path startup engagement program to include seven early and late-stage startups hailing from the United States, Canada and Latin America. Carbon Neutral Club, Guava, oneKIN, Palla, SUMA…