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FCC offering internet discount to eligible Kentuckians

businessman hand using smart phone and keying the data to laptop,close up Seleted focus.
businessman hand using smart phone and keying the data to laptop,close up Seleted focus.(Madeline Cuddihy)
Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 2:41 PM CDT
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(Editor’s note: This story was originally published May 12, 2021 at 3:42 PM CDT - Updated May 12 at 3:42 PM on kfvs12.com)

KENTUCKY (Great Health Divide) - Gov. Andy Beshear is encouraging eligible Kentuckians to apply for a newly available discount through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to help temporarily reduce their cost of home internet services.

The $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit program provides a temporary discount of up to $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households.

The benefit also provides discounts up to $100 per household toward a one-time purchase of a computer, laptop or tablet, if the household contributes more than $10 but less than $50 toward its purchase from a participating broadband provider.

“Now more than ever, Kentuckians need reliable internet access to stay informed and connected to school, work, family, church, health care and other critical services,” said Gov. Beshear. “By providing some temporary financial assistance, this program may be what allows eligible Kentuckians to retain their service and remain online as we defeat COVID-19.”

Kentuckians can apply here or through participating broadband providers.

Discounts will continue until all funding is exhausted, or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the pandemic.

A household is eligible if one member of the family meets at least one of the criteria below:

  • Has an income at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid or the FCC’s Lifeline program;
  • Is 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 reduction in income through job loss or furlough since Feb. 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.

Additional information about the Emergency Broadband Benefit is available here.

The Governor is also preparing to expand the state’s broadband infrastructure.

After reaching a bipartisan agreement with lawmakers and signing House Bill 320 and House Bill 382, the Governor will have more than $300 million in the Broadband Deployment Fund to begin addressing unserved and underserved communities.

Great Health Divide is an initiative addressing health disparities in the Mississippi Delta and Appalachia funded in part by the Google News Initiative.

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