FCC ADOPTS REPORT AND ORDER TO IMPLEMENT EMERGENCY BROADBAND BENEFIT PROGRAM

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The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program will provide eligible households with discounts of up to $50 a month for broadband service, and up to $75 a month if the household is on Tribal lands. It also will provide a one-time discount of up to $100 on a computer or tablet for eligible households. Under the law, the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is open to households that participate in an existing low-income or pandemic relief program offered by a broadband provider; Lifeline subscribers, including those that are on Medicaid or accept SNAP benefits; households with kids receiving free and reduced-price lunch or school breakfast; Pell grant recipients; and those who have lost jobs and seen their income reduced in the last year.

The Future of Agriculture Requires Better Broadband

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The lack of broadband in rural America has increasingly impacted our nation’s food supply and the communities that farmers call home. Currently, 29% of U.S. farms do not have access to the internet. This means that nearly one-third of U.S. farms are unable to take advantage of precision farming technology that relies on broadband to help increase production, improve distribution, and reduce costs. These technologies are even more critical as climate change is
expected to negatively impact agriculture production in America. Meanwhile, households in farming communities face many of the same challenges as unserved populations in urban areas who are unable to work and learn from home. Congress must prioritize policies that promote broadband access in order to help U.S. farmers.

Promoting Broadband Deployment and Adoption

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Even if broadband is available and affordable, individuals and families can’t connect without equipment and digital literacy.
● Twenty-one percent of non-broadband users cite the cost of a computer as one of the reasons they
do not have broadband at home.
● Many American workers lack digital skills they need to successfully navigate digital devices.
● The Digital Equity Act would provide funding to states to implement digital equity plans, and to
other stakeholders to support digital equity projects.

Why Broadband is Critical to America’s Health

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Broadband connectivity is critical to America’s health. Telehealth, providing healthcare services and information at a
distance, is rapidly growing in popularity and the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the value of telehealth to the
forefront of national healthcare discussions. The number of hospitals utilizing telehealth more than doubled over the
last decade , with savings for both patient and provider . Additionally, medical platforms and technologies need reliable
broadband to function. Insufficient access could literally be a matter of life and death.