JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – How does free or reduced-cost internet service sound? Consumer Reports wants to get the word out that millions of Americans could qualify for a new temporary federal program called the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program that could save families money every month.
So, who is eligible for this internet discount of up to $50 a month? You are if you:
- Lost your job or been furloughed
- Have an income less than or equal to 135% of federal poverty guidelines
- Use assistance programs including SNAP, Medicaid or Lifeline
- Are a current Pell Grant recipient
Those who qualify can also get a one-time discount of up to $100 on a laptop, desktop or tablet.
Check the website of the Federal Communications Commission to see if your internet provider participates in the program. There are three ways to apply:
- Contact your provider to learn about its application process
- Apply online at GetEmergencyBroadband.org
- Call 833-511-0311 for a mail-in application
If you’re not eligible, Consumer Reports says there are still ways to save on your bill. Buying your own modem or router instead of renting one from an internet company can help save you money in the long run. Just make sure the modem is compatible with your ISP. That’s something you can often find out on the provider’s website.
Consumer Reports says another way to save is to ask your provider for a discount and calling on a weekday could also connect you with higher-level reps with better discounts that might be available.