In December 2020, Congress set aside $3.2B for an emergency subsidy program to help low-income households pay for broadband during the Covid-19 pandemic. Launched in May 2021, the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) offered a subsidy of up to $50 per month to qualifying households, increasing to $75 for households in tribal lands. The program also offered a one-time discount of up to $100 for the purchase of a device (computer or tablet). The EBB program was originally set to expire when the funds were depleted or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declared an end to the pandemic. With the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in November 2021, this temporary subsidy was extended indefinitely (at a minimum until the $14.2 billion in existing funding is exhausted) and renamed the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).
- A Roadmap for Affordable Broadband: Lessons from the Emergency Broadband Benefit