A recent report shows most low-income households in the Mountain West aren’t taking advantage of an internet incentive program launched by the Biden administration last year.
The Emergency Broadband Benefit gave households a subsidy of $50 a month to help cover their internet bill. It applied to everyone making 135% or less of the federal poverty guideline. Those living on tribal lands qualified for a $75 monthly discount.
The FCC program, which launched in May 2021, was aimed at reducing the digital divide. The millions of Americans without high-speed internet – which tend to be those living in rural and poor areas – are disadvantaged in accessing things like online education and telemedicine. But a report from the California-based research firm Broadband Now, published in December, estimates that only a fraction of eligible households are actually receiving the discount.