SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Starting on May 12, eligible New Mexicans can enroll for federal assistance that will help to pay for monthly broadband services and will also offer a one-time discount to purchase a computer. The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program will provide discounts on the cost of high-speed internet for households that are eligible and work with approved providers.
The $3.2 billion program is administered through the Federal Communications Commission. Benefits of the program include:
- Up to $50 month discount for broadband services per household;
- Up to $75 month discount for broadband services per household on tribal lands;
- A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop, or tablet computer purchased through a participating provider.
A household is eligible for the program if one member of the household meets at least one of the following criteria:
- Qualifies for the FCC’s existing program, Lifeline, to help make communications services more affordable for low-income consumers
- Receives benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, or did so in the 2019-2020 school year
- Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year
- Experienced a substantial loss of income since Feb. 29, 2020, and the household had a total income in 2020 below $99,000 for single filers and below $198,000 for joint filers
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating providers’ existing low-income or COVID-19 program
The New Mexico Public Education Department reports that it estimates 75% of families of New Mexico students could be eligible based on their eligibility for other federal assistance such as the National School Lunch Program. According to a PED news release, households that are eligible will enroll in the program through participating broadband providers who will then be reimbursed.
PED reports that in New Mexico, the Department of Information Technology is signing up service providers to participate in the program. At this time, 38 New Mexico providers have signed up for the program.
PED states that the FCC started testing the program with participating broadband providers last week to prepare for the consumer launch on Tuesday. Additional information about the EBB program is available on the FCC website.