LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A partnership was announced on Thursday to increase awareness and enrollment in the Emergency Broadband Benefit, a program that helps lower the cost of broadband service for eligible households during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Emergency Broadband Benefit includes a $50 monthly credit and $100 toward the purchase of a computer, laptop, or tablet if the household contributes more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase through a participating broadband provider.
The program organized by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)is in partnership with the Southwest Community Center, the City of Little Rock, Little Rock School District (LRSD), Central Arkansas Library System (CALS), and the nonprofit Heartland Forward.
A household is eligible if one member of the household meets at least one of the criteria below:
• Approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, in the 2019-2020, 2020-2021, or 2021-2022 school year.
• Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year.
• Experienced a substantial loss of income through job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020, and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers.
• Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
“There are families in Little Rock which lack access to broadband service because of the cost, and I am grateful to our partners in this comprehensive outreach campaign as we work to get more families connected.” Mayor Frank Scott Jr said.
The City’s community centers and CALS branches will serve as enrollment sites for those who are unable to access the online application. LRSD will utilize its community schools feeding program to include flyers in the food backpacks of every student so that parents will receive the eligibility information and how to apply.
“We know that as kids go and do their work, some are in-person… some are virtual, but even if you are in-person the learning should never stop when you go home, and kids should be excited to continue their studies and be engaged, and they need that broadband,” LRSD Supt. Michael Poore said.
Residents can learn about eligibility and enroll by visiting littlerock.gov/covid19 and clicking on emergency broadband.