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Consumer Reports applauds FCC’s implementation of the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program to help connect underserved families

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Consumer Reports today praised the Federal Communications Commission’s unanimous and bipartisan adoption of final rules to implement the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, a $3.2 billion federal initiative to provide qualifying households with discounts on internet service bills and digital devices such as a computer or tablet.

Jonathan Schwantes, senior policy counsel for Consumer Reports, said, “Too many Americans are not able to access or afford broadband. This is especially true for people who’ve lost their jobs or can’t find regular work since the coronavirus shuttered many businesses. Standing up the Emergency Broadband Benefit program is the first step of many that need to be taken to make internet service more affordable for Americans. If it wasn’t glaringly important before, the pandemic has confirmed the vital need of a broadband internet connection — one that is reliable, affordable, and for some of us, simply available. “

Though the FCC’s rules do not require internet service providers (ISPs) to apply the benefit to all of their service offerings, there is nothing in the Commission’s ruling preventing them from doing so. CR encourages participating ISPs to permit eligible consumers to apply their benefit to a robust selection of choices, letting them decide which one best fits their household’s needs.

“Finally, with many consumers dependent upon leasing a modem or router from their internet service provider, we are pleased the FCC confirmed the benefit will cover those charges—which can exceed $10 a month—as well.,” Schwantes added.

Media contact: Cyrus Rassool, cyrus.rassool@consumer.org