Check here if you qualify: New federal program aimed at more accessible, affordable internet connection | WHEC.com

Check here if you qualify: New federal program aimed at more accessible, affordable internet connection

WHECTV
Updated: May 11, 2021 04:41 PM
Created: May 11, 2021 01:07 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — United States Congressman Joe Morelle announced Tuesday the opening of a new program targeted at making broadband internet more accessible and affordable.

Morelle said the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, which goes live on Wednesday, will provide a $50-per-month subsidy for qualified households to receive internet access through a local provider.

Qualifications for the program include:

  • Household income at or below 135% of the federal poverty line
  • Participation in safety net programs such as SNAP, Medicaid, SSI, Public Housing Assistance, Veterans or Survivors Pension Benefits
  • Proof of substantial loss of income since Feb. 29, 2020, with a total household income at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers
  • Participation in free and reduced-price school lunch program for the 2019-20 or 2020-21 school year

Morelle said the program will continue until funding runs out or six months after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declares the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, whichever comes first.

The congressman helped secure $3.2 billion in funding for the program as part of a COVID-19 relief package. He cited a report done by ROC the Future Alliance which found roughly 20% of Rochester residents don't have internet access. It's an issue that mainly impacts Black and brown communities, seniors, and low-income households.

Applications can be completed online here.

Locally, if you are looking to apply, you can also contact ROC the Future or the Monroe County Library System for assistance navigating the program.

Greenlight Networks is offering its service in partnership with the program.

"Those customers choosing to sign up with Greenlight Networks are going to get free service, normally our $50 service, at no charge. No additional charge and that's our 500 megabits per second down and up that we did during the pandemic," CEO Mark Murphy said.

Greenlight will also be waiving its $100 installation fee for anyone on the program.

Applications are available online, but for those without computer or internet access, you can also apply by mail, or through internet providers themselves.


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