By Hayley Crandall
AT&T is helping make internet or broadband service affordable for households through the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB), a temporary program from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the company announced in a press release last week.
With assistance from the government program, if applicable, new and existing AT&T customers can receive service for little or no-cost. Households can receive a temporary discount of up to $50 per month. Those on Tribal lands could qualify for a discount of up to a $75 per month, according to the release.
Service varies as it aligns with what customers wish to use their discount towards, Scott VanderSanden, president of AT&T Plains States, explained.
Select AT&T Internet plans are eligible for the program, including the 1 GIG plan (Internet 1000), the release outlined. AT&T wireless plans are also eligible along with select plans from Cricket Wireless.
“It’s a function of what’s available in the marketplace,” VanderSanden said. “Those are customer choices based on what they can afford and what the credit is.”
This federal temporary program comes at a time when COVID-19 has shifted the world financially, the press release outlined. Circumstances have also moved much to the digital space.
“The at-home usage of the internet went up markedly,” VanderSanden said. “With that, customers having greater access to the internet has considerable benefits.”
Internet access is a “two-fold” situation, according to VanderSanden, with presenting issues in availability and affordability. This assistance from AT&T aids with the affordability aspect.
AT&T hopes customers have a better overall experience with their internet and, near term, have access to necessities like education and medical, he said.
Support of the EBB program is a continuation of AT&T’s focus on affordable service access. Five years ago, AT&T began Access from AT&T, its company-funded program making household internet more affordable through discounted rates on wireline service, the press release outlined. Recently, AT&T announced a $2 billion investment over the next three years to help close the digital divide.
The EBB program launches Wednesday, May 12 with AT&T accepting approved customers shortly after, according to the press release. One monthly service discount allowed per household.
Further information on the program including application qualifications can be found online, https://getemergencybroadband.org/.
More on AT&T’s role with the program can be found at https://www.att.com/help/ebb/.