• Affordability Benefit for Broadband – Federal Communications Commission

    Greetings:

    My name is Veneeth Iyengar and I am the Executive Director for Broadband Development and Connectivity for the state. Our office’s vision is to aggressively eliminate the digital divide that exists in Louisiana by 2029, if not sooner. Addressing the digital divide can only be done if we tackle broadband accessibility, affordability and digital literacy concurrently.

    To that end, we are announcing an effort with the Federal Communications Commission to build consumer awareness about the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. This temporary benefit will help lower the cost of broadband service for eligible households during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This program is first come, first served and the application period will open May 12,2021.

    This program provides a discount of up to a $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for qualifying households on qualifying Tribal lands. The benefit also provides a discount of up to $100 per household toward a one-time purchase of a desktop computer, laptop or tablet purchased through a participating broadband provider. Click here to view specific eligibility guidelines.

    The Emergency Broadband Benefit enrollment begins May 12, 2021. Eligible households can enroll through a participating broadband provider or directly with the Universal Service Administrative Company using an online or mail-in application. Additional information about the Emergency Broadband Benefit is available at www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit, or by calling 833-511-0311 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. any day of the week.

    I ask you to please share this information with your eligible constituents as soon as possible. I have attached a flyer that can be shared on social media.

    There are at least 1.6 million Louisianians representing about 643,000 households, including 47% of both Black and Hispanic/Latino households, who do not have access to high speed internet due to either infrastructure availability or affordability of subscriptions. Additionally, there are about 744,000 adults in Louisiana who lack the digital literacy skills needed to best make use of broadband.

    Thank you for any assistance you or your organization can provide to spread the word about this important opportunity.

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