Broadband Access Program

  • Starting Wednesday (5/12) low-income families will be eligible for a $50/mo reduction in their cost of broadband if they utilize a participating provider. (Most MN providers are participating) Note also that participation in the NSLP (Free/reduced-priced lunch) program is a qualifying indicator for the FCC EBB program (there are many other ways to qualify as well), so you may be able to sign up for free/reduced lunch to be eligible for the program.
     
    Here is some FCC information passed on by the State Education Technology Directors Association (SETDA).
     
    As we prepare for the May 12 launch of the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program enrollment date, we'd like to highlight resources to share with your membership and community.
     
    Consumers should visit www.getemergencybroadband.org or call the toll-free number 833-511-0311 specifically for information about the application.
     
    Schools and organizations can visit the following websites for more information on how to promote this to your families.
    • Organizations and individuals wanting to become partners in disseminating information can find complete the Become an Outreach Partner form at www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit.
    • The EBB Outreach Toolkit is available at www.fcc.gov/emergency-broadband-benefit-outreach-toolkit. We also list the languages that materials are available in to provide information in-language materials to communities.
    • Please continue to visit the EBB providers page at www.fcc.gov/emergency-broadband-benefit-providers to learn more about who has been approved to provide this benefit in your state. This list is updated frequently.
    • Of interest may be the April 2021 edition of our Consumer Connections newsletter now available at www.fcc.gov/outreach.  This newsletter contains consumer-friendly information about the EBB program.
    • We are still accepting requests for EBB presentations.  Please visit www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit  to submit a request.

Internet Service Options

  • Connect students to resources for free WiFi if access to the internet is not guaranteed at their home. Many school districts have systems in place for providing hotspots to students in need. In most cases, this work can be assisted by technology departments. Others might find options for free provisions of WiFi through the following links:

    COMCAST (Click the link): Free WiFi for households with students
    SPECTRUM (Click the link): To enroll in the free broadband and wifi program, you can call 1-844-488-8395

    Cellular systems are providing support as well to increase opportunities for users to use unlimited data for their cell phones to be used as hot spots (please note: that users must enroll in these programs to receive these offers)
    AT&T (Click the link): Programs and reliefs for increasing internet connectivity
    T-MOBILE (Click the link):
    Removing smartphone data caps for all customers
    Giving 20GB of additional mobile hotspot data
    Increasing data for schools in their EmpowerED program
    Making it free to call severely impacted countries
    Verizon
    Verizon is automatically adding 15 GB of data across nearly all of our plans, to be used between 03/25/2020 and 04/30/2020. Please note that you will not see the additional allowance in your My Verizon account online, in the Verizon App, or on your bill. To be eligible, you must be on a qualifying postpaid (unlimited or shared), Jetpack or prepaid plan:

    • For Unlimited Data Plans
      • 15 GB of 4G LTE data will be added to your plan’s existing Mobile Hotspot allotment
      • Eligible plans include The Verizon Plan Unlimited, Go/Beyond/Above Unlimited Plans, Start/Play More/Do More/Get More Unlimited Plans
    • For Shared Data Plans
      • 15 GB of 4G LTE shared data will be added (can be used for Mobile Hotspot, or any other connected device using the shared data plan)
      • Eligible plans include: More Everything Plans, Verizon Plans 1.0 and 2.0 (e.g., S, M, L, XL, XXL), Just Kids
    • For Jetpack - Unlimited or Metered Plans
      • 15 GB of 4G LTE data will be added
    • For Prepaid
      • All monthly plans with a data allowance: 15 GB of 4G LTE data will be added to monthly metered Smartphone (can be used for Mobile Hotspot), Jetpack and Tablet device plans

    Note: If you’re on a shared or account level plan, all lines on the account will share the data. If each line on your account has its own plan, each will receive its own data.
    To view or change your plan, visit My Verizon.

    Here is a good summary of a variety of carriers and their current offerings as of 3/14/20.

    Options for Reduced Rate/Free Internet Access for K-12 Student Households
     
    Charter
    Charter will offer Spectrum free broadband and WI-FI access for 2 months - Call 1-844-488-8395
    • Begins March 16, 2020
    • Eligible households are NEW customers only
    • Must have students in grades K-12 and/or college
    • Installation fees will be waived
    • Requirements: One or more members of your household must be a recipient of one of the following assistance programs:
      • National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
      • Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) of the NSLP
     
    Comcast
    Comcast will offer Internet Essentials for 2 months - apply online or call the numbers listed below
    • Begins March 16, 2020
    • Eligible households are NEW customers only
    • Must have students in grades K-12 and/or college
    • After the first two months expire, you can cancel the service or keep it as a regular paying Internet Essentials customer
    • In 7-10 days you will receive an easy to use self-install-kit that includes a cable modem with a WiFi router
    • No term contract or credit check and no shipping fee for equipment
    • Requirements: One or more members of your household must be eligible for public assistance programs such as:
      • National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
      • Housing Assistance
      • Medicaid
      • Snap
    • The website also includes the option to video chat with customer service agents in American Sign Language. There are also two dedicated phone numbers 1-855-846-8376 for English and 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.

    MIDCO
    As of today, our education assistance program is ending. We remain committed to keeping everyone online and have options available for impacted families.
    Option 1: Lifeline Assistance is a government program that makes internet affordable for many low-income households. If a customer qualifies, this credit could provide internet service (25 Mbps download speeds) for as low as $5.70 per month, including a modem. If they’ve tried to get Lifeline assistance before and were rejected, we encourage them to see if their current situation qualifies. They should visit Midco.com/Lifeline to register and learn more.
    Option 2: If customers don’t qualify for Lifeline, they can still have internet service with our new Midco Internet Basics package featuring up to 25 Mbps downloads for $14.95 per month, including a modem lease.
    Midco Internet for Remote Learning Needs Flyer

    Frontier
    Frontier is committed to helping qualified low-income individuals pay for telephone or qualified internet services. Lifeline service is a non-transferable (from one person to another) government assistance program that provides a discount on the cost of monthly telephone service only ($7.25) or qualified internet access service with or without telephone service ($9.25). Lifeline is limited to one discount per household and only eligible customers may enroll. To receive the Lifeline discount each month, you must certify that you or someone in your household currently receives benefits from one of these programs:

    • Medicaid (also known as Minnesota Medical Assistance)
    • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) formerly Food Stamps
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
    • Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
    • VA Veterans Pension (Supplemental Income for Wartime Veterans)
    • VA Survivors Pension

Other Options