Earlier today I posted about the new federal discounts for broadband (FCC adopts federal broadband discount program: up to $50/month, $75/month on tribal lands and $100 for device).
The natural follow up is – hey how can I/we/my people get that? Turns out CTC Technology & Energy is already thinking about that.
Localities and states can take action now—before the FCC even issues its rules—to begin to help residents maximize their potential benefits under the new Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. For more details on the program, see our explanation here. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have additional questions.
The big issue is having to figure out if you’re eligible and how apply for the funds. It can be tricky for a family to figure it out. It can be tricky for smaller broadband providers to figure it out. (Larger providers will have an easier time especially if they are already connected to the Lifeline verifier.)
CTC has a way for government to help…
On the surface, the Emergency Broadband Benefit program involves only ISPs, customers, and the FCC: A customer calls the ISP, the ISP verifies their eligibility, and the ISP is reimbursed by the FCC. The reality is that local and state governments can play a key role in helping their residents make the most of this opportunity—rather than assuming the FCC and large ISPs will take on those responsibilities—and in the process, narrow the digital divide in their communities.
They recommend three ways:
- Develop consumer education and outreach materials
- Engage with ISPs—particularly small, local operators—to support their participation
- Consider offering bridge funding for ISPs and residents
The article provides more details but I wanted to invite folks to post a comment or contact me firstname.lastname@example.org if they are interested and/or planning to take any of these actions. I’ve already heard from a very knowledgeable engineer about this. I’d hate to see people inventing wheels all over the state when we could build one wheel together more easily.