These resources can help households with the monthly cost of broadband service and obtaining a device.
Reduced Rates for Broadband Service
FCC Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB)
The FCC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit will be available beginning May 12, 2021. To see if you are eligible for this federal program and how to apply visit getemergencybroadband.org.
The Federal Communications Commission has established a temporary Emergency Broadband Benefit with funding from the Consolidated Recovery Act to assist qualifying low-income households to pay for their monthly broadband service. The program also includes an option to purchase a device from the broadband provider. The benefit is up to $50 per month and $75 a month on tribal lands. Households sign up with a participating broadband provider and the discount is paid to the provider. Additional information on this discount, including eligibility requirements, can be found on the FCC’s website.
The FCC also has a fact sheet, information for broadband providers, a list of providers offering the benefit in Minnesota and whether they are also offering a discounted device and an outreach tool kit. Note that the list of providers is being updated as additional providers are approved for participation in the program
The National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) also has resource available on its website to help explain the program and to assist digital equity practitioners and advocates help enroll unconnected households in the Emergency Broadband Benefit program.
Low Income Discount Service Offered by Providers
If you are a low-income subscriber residing in either a Comcast Xfinity, Charter Spectrum or Midcontinent area, you may be eligible for a broadband service offered at a discounted monthly rate.
Other Minnesota cable companies (Mediacom and Sjoberg’s Cable) offer discounted pricing for broadband access as well under the federal Connect2Compete program. If your location is served by one of these cable companies, you may want to contact them directly to see if you are eligible.
Some Minnesota telephone companies offer the Lifeline discount for broadband service to low income households (discount of $9.25/month or $34.25/month in tribal areas) and/or other discounted pricing. If the telephone company serving your location also provides broadband service, you may want to contact them directly to see if they participate in the Lifeline program or offer a discounted service for eligible households.
PCs for People, in a partnership with Mobile Beacon, also offer a discounted 4G LTE wireless broadband service for approximately $15 per month to eligible low income households. More information on this program.
In addition to the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, Comcast offers discounted pricing on computers under its Internet Essentials program for residents in its coverage area. Another option for a low-cost computer is available through the nonprofit PCs for People. Reach them by phone at 651-354-2552 or visit one of their offices (St. Paul, Mankato, Grand Rapids and Brainerd).
If you want to use a computer but do not want to own one or do not have a broadband connection, the Technology Literacy Collaborative lists community technology centers, including libraries, in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area.
CTEP Americorp bridges the "digital divide" for new Immigrants and low-income communities in Minneapolis and St. Paul. CTEP AmeriCorps members help youth and adults use technology to better access social, civic, educational and economic opportunities.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce was responsible for overseeing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding for broadband adoption and public computing centers. Using the early results of its evaluation of these projects, the NTIA put together this report to assist others to reach, educate and support people who are not yet online.