In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has launched the Emergency Broadband Benefit Free Tablet program in order to provide low-income households with internet access and virtual aid. This initiative offers discounted monthly broadband services and the possibility of obtaining a tablet device for free.
If you are having difficulty affording internet service, this program may be able to be of assistance. This article will outline the details of the Emergency Broadband Benefit Free Tablet program, including the criteria for eligibility, how to apply, and the benefits of receiving a free tablet.
- What is an Emergency Broadband Benefit Free Tablet?
- How does the Emergency Broadband Benefit work?
- Who qualifies for an Emergency Broadband Free Tablet?
- How to apply for an Emergency Broadband Benefit Free Tablet
- Providers That Offer Free EBB Tablets
- Free Tablet from the Government under Lifeline Program
- Get A Free Tablet Through Non-profit Organizations
- FAQs For Emergency Broadband Benefit Free Tablet
- Is the EBB program still running?
- What If I can’t get a free Tablet from the free programs?
- Can a Lifeline-eligible person get free internet?
- Final Verdict
What is an Emergency Broadband Benefit Free Tablet?
Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) is a program created by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to help low-income households access affordable internet services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The program offers a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Furthermore, qualified households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 towards the purchase price.
How does the Emergency Broadband Benefit work?
As I mentioned earlier, the program is a government initiative to provide affordable broadband internet and devices to low-income households during the COVID-19 pandemic. Qualified households can get a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service, and up to $75 per month if they qualified in Tribal lands.
Moreover, it also includes a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 towards the purchase price.
To qualify for the program, households need to meet certain income requirements, participate in a federal assistance program, have received a Federal Pell Grant, or have experienced a substantial loss of income due to the pandemic. Service providers also have their eligibility criteria that must be met.
As for applying to the EBB program, individuals must first determine if they are eligible by checking their income and participation in federal assistance programs.
Who qualifies for an Emergency Broadband Free Tablet?
To qualify for the EBB free Tablet program, you need to meet a few requirements. Here they are –
1. Participation in Federal Assistance Programs: Individuals who are enrolled in government assistance programs, such as food stamps or Medicaid, are eligible for the program. These programs are to help low-income households and are often used as proof of financial need.
2. Income Requirements: To qualify for the EBB free tablet program, households must have an income that is less than 135% of the federal poverty guidelines. The amount can vary by state; you should check the website of the service providers for accurate data.
3. Eligibility Criteria Set by Service Providers: Each service provider has different eligibility criteria for the EBB free tablet program. So, make sure to check the terms and conditions of the provider to see if you qualify.
4. Receiving a Federal Pell Grant: Individuals who have received a Federal Pell Grant are also eligible for the EBB free tablet program. This grant is awarded to undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need.
5. Experiencing a Loss of Income: If a household has experienced a loss of income since February 2020, they may also qualify for the EBB free tablet program. This includes households that have lost their jobs or experienced a reduction in income. Proof of the loss of income must be provided to the service provider.
How to apply for an Emergency Broadband Benefit Free Tablet
To apply for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Free Tablet program, you need to follow a procedure.
Identifying the appropriate broadband service provider
The first step is to identify the appropriate broadband service provider. Not all service providers offer the program, so you need to research and find one that does.
By visiting the provider’s website and looking for information on the Emergency Broadband Benefit program or by contacting them directly, you can find the necessary information. It’s also important to check if the service provider operates in your state or area.
But, you don’t need to worry as I’ll tell you some top providers in a short while. Once you have identified a provider that offers the program, you can proceed with the application process.
Checking if you qualify for the program
After choosing a broadband provider, the next step is to find information on the eligibility criteria for the program and an application form that you will need to complete.
As I mentioned before, there are several factors you need to consider when checking if you qualify for the program, such as your income, participation in federal assistance programs, eligibility criteria set by the service provider, and whether you have experienced a loss of income.
Also, read the terms and conditions of the program of the chosen provider as there can be some slight changes. If you are unsure whether you qualify for the program, it is recommended that you contact the broadband service provider directly for assistance. They will be able to provide you with more information on the program and help you determine if you are eligible to apply.
Gathering necessary documentation and certifications
After confirming your qualification, it’s time to gather all the necessary documentation and certifications –
Proof of income: Documentation such as a pay stub, unemployment insurance statement, or tax return may be required to show that the household income is at or below the eligibility threshold.
Proof of participation in a federal assistance program: If your household is participating in a program such as SNAP or Medicaid, gather the documentation of this participation.
Proof of loss of income: If the household has experienced a loss of income since February 2020, papers such as a layoff or furlough notice will be necessary.
Proof of enrollment in a qualifying school: If the household has a student who is eligible for a Federal Pell Grant, documentation of enrollment in the school will be required.
Proof of address: Documents such as a utility bill or lease agreement will necessary to show that the household is located in an area where the program is available.
Other documents and proofs may be required by the service provider. Again, check the website of the service provider for specific requirements.
Submitting an application online or through a service provider
The last step is to submit your information online. Visit the website of the Emergency Broadband Benefit program or you can also apply through the website of the broadband service provider you have chosen.
Some service providers allow individuals to apply for the Emergency Broadband Benefit in person or over the phone. Contact the service provider to inquire about this option.
After you have applied, you will get a confirmation email or letter. Wait for the confirmation, and if you don’t get it, contact the service provider. Some service providers need additional information for confirmation, so provide those as soon as possible.
When your application is approved, the service provider will transfer your benefits, including free tablets or discounted internet services.
Providers That Offer Free EBB Tablets
The Emergency Broadband Benefit program works in partnership with participating internet service providers. The list of participating providers varies by state and region, but some of the major providers are most likely to find all the places. Let’s have look at the top providers in the field –
- Comcast / Xfinity
- Cox Communications
- Spectrum (Charter Communications)
Again, this is not an exhaustive list, and the availability of the Emergency Broadband Benefit varies depending on your location and the plans offered by local providers. Visit the official Emergency Broadband Benefit website fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit and check the list of participating providers in your area.
Other Ways To Get Free Tablet
Without the EBB program, there are other ways to get a free tablet or other devices –
Free Tablet from the Government under Lifeline Program
The Lifeline program is a similar government-funded program of EBB. It provides low-income households with free or discounted telecommunications services. It most usually provides a free smartphone, but you can also get a tablet.
To qualify for the Lifeline program, individuals must be enrolled in certain government assistance programs or have an income that is at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines. Eligible individuals can apply for the program through a participating telecommunications provider.
To apply for a free tablet through the Lifeline program, follow these steps:
- Determine your eligibility by checking if you participate in a government assistance program or if your income is at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines.
- Find a participating telecommunications provider in your area by visiting the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) website.
- Contact the provider and ask about the Lifeline program and the availability of free tablets.
- Provide the necessary documentation to prove your eligibility, such as proof of income or participation in a government assistance program.
- Once your application is approved, the provider will send you a free tablet.
Get A Free Tablet Through Non-profit Organizations
Several non-profit organizations provide free tablets to individuals and low-income families in need. The process of obtaining a free tablet through these organizations typically involves filling out an application, providing proof of income or need, and meeting certain eligibility criteria.
Let’s learn about a few of these organizations –
Computer Technology Assistance Corps
The CTAC provides low-cost or free computers, laptops, and tablets to low-income families, schools, and faith-based organizations. It operates through donations from its members.
CTAC accepts donations of gently used computers, laptops, and tablets, which are then refurbished and made available to those in need at a low cost. This can include families and individuals who cannot afford to purchase a device on their own, as well as schools and non-profit organizations that may not have the budget to provide technology for their students or clients.
To apply for a free tablet from the non-profit, individuals and organizations can visit CTAC’s website and fill out an application form. The application process may involve a needs assessment and background check, and the organization may require proof of income or other documentation to verify eligibility.
Computers With Causes
It offers donated computer equipment, including tablets, to individuals and families in need around the country. The organization aims to help low-income families, schools, and faith-based organizations access affordable technology.
The application process for receiving a free tablet through Computers With Causes is straightforward. Interested individuals can visit their website and fill out an application form describing their needs. After the application is submitted, the organization conducts a brief needs assessment and a reference and background check.
The organization’s primary goal is to assist children with educational needs and disabled veterans who require internet access. The application processing time is typically around 30 days.
On It Foundation
The On It Foundation mostly works for low-income families with children in K-12 education programs. Its main focus is providing tablets and computers to assist children with their educational needs.
The foundation has a simple application process that allows families to describe their needs and apply for a free tablet on their website. The application process includes a brief needs assessment, as well as a reference and background check. Once the application is approved, the foundation will work to locate the device the family needs.
The On It Foundation also has physical locations where families can apply for the person program. The organization is funded by donations, grants, and from the sales of the recycled donated technology and is run by volunteers. They only accept donations of laptops, tablets, and desktop computers that are in working condition.
Computers For Learning
Computers For Learning is federally funded and it aims to offer organizations and schools digital equipment, including laptops, computers, and tablets.
To be eligible for the program, schools and organizations must meet certain requirements. The applied organization also needs to be a public or non-profit organization, such as a school district, library, or other educational entity. Moreover, it needs to demonstrate a need for the equipment and a plan for how it will be used to support education.
This Seattle, Washington-based organization has high fame for providing low-cost or free computers and tablets to individuals and organizations in need. The organization collects donations of used electronics, refurbishes them, and then sells them at affordable prices.
InterConnection offers a one-year warranty on all of the equipment that they sell. Besides its online store, it also operates ConnectAll.org, a low-cost online store that offers a wider range of computer equipment.
The organization also has a recycling program for people to responsibly dispose of their old electronics. Through this program, they aim to keep electronic waste out of landfills and reduce the environmental impact of the disposal of old electronics.
FAQs For Emergency Broadband Benefit Free Tablet
Is the EBB program still running?
Yes, the Emergency Broadband Benefit is still operating, but the name of the program has changed, and now it is known as the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) program. But, the requirements and the benefits of the previous program are the same. However, you should check before applying, as the requirements change pretty frequently.
What If I can’t get a free Tablet from the free programs?
If you don’t get a free Tablet despite applying to different providers and non-profit organizations, the best option is to get a discount and purchase it at a discount price.
Can a Lifeline-eligible person get free internet?
The Lifeline program is a federal program that provides low-income households with discounts on phone and internet services. If you are eligible for the Lifeline program, you may be able to receive a discount on your internet service, but it is not guaranteed to be free.
Eligibility for the program is based on various factors, such as income or participation in certain government assistance programs. If you are eligible, you will need to apply for the program and choose a participating provider to receive the discount.
It’s important to note that the program is not available in all areas, and the discounts may vary depending on the state and provider.
To recap the whole article, the Emergency Broadband Benefit program is an initiative by the federal government to provide low-income households with affordable internet service and free devices.
Eligible households can receive discounts of up to $50 on internet plans and up to $100 on the purchase of a desktop computer or tablet. To qualify for the program, individuals need to meet certain criteria such as participating in a federal assistance program, having a low income, experiencing a loss of income, or receiving a Federal Pell Grant.
Before applying, remember to gather all necessary documentation and certifications. Hope this in-depth review can help you in many ways.