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Capitol Correspondence - 01.19.21

FCC Requests Comment on Broadband Access for Low-Income Households

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ANCOR members often shared with us last year the challenges facing individuals with intellectual / developmental disabilities who had limited access to broadband because of pandemic-related transitions from in-person to virtual or remote services. As a result, ANCOR is planning on responding to a request for comment by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on a proposal to subsidize broadband access for low-income households. We share the full announcement below for the convenience of members who may seek to respond to the FCC with their own comments.

“The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is seeking to provide broadband service and devices to low-income households. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 directed the FCC to create the program, which would reimburse participating companies for providing discounted broadband service and connected devices to eligible households during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The program will pay up to $50 for a broadband connection per qualifying household. On Tribal lands, that monthly discount may be up to $75 per month. The program will also purchase a device (such as a phone, laptop, or tablet) to connect to the Internet up to $100 of the cost of the device so long as the household contributes no less than $10 and no more than $50 for the device. Participating providers will receive reimbursement from the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program for the discounts provided. 

Find more information about this request for comment.

Comments are due by February 16. 

All filings should refer to WC Docket No. 20-445. Filings must be addressed to the Commission’s Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission. Comments may be filed by paper or by using the Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). Comments and replies may be filed electronically via ECFS: http://www.fcc.gov/ecfs.

Parties who choose to file by paper must file an original and one copy of each filing. 

  • Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express Mail and Priority Mail) must be sent to 9050 Junction Drive, Annapolis Junction, MD 20701.
  • U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail must be addressed to 45 L St, NE, Washington, DC 20554.
  • People with Disabilities. To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an e-mail to [email protected] or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice) or (202) 418-0432 (tty).”