Coronavirus and Connectivity

Through our Headlines news service, Benton is tracking the role of broadband in the response to coronavirus (COVID-19). Click on titles below for full summaries of articles and links to sources.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit has thus far enrolled just 1 in 12 eligible households, but places with low broadband adoption rates show better results

Two weeks ago, the Federal Communications Commission released data on how many households have signed up for the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB), a program created by Congress in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program offers eligible households a discount of up to $50 per month on broadband service.

Chicago Connected: A Year in Review

Launched in June 2020, the Chicago Connected program provided a bridge to learning for more than 64,000 Chicago Public Schools students who didn’t have the connectivity or speed to access their remote lessons from home. An inspiring commitment on the part of Chicago’s philanthropy, business, government and nonprofit sectors, Chicago Connected has been replicated in cities across the country and is the national model for bridging the urban digital divide.

Schools and Libraries Can Act Now to Bridge the Digital Divide

Schools and libraries have an enormous window of opportunity to help their students and patrons obtain affordable internet access. At the end of this month, the Federal Communications Commission will open a 45-day filing window for the Emergency Connectivity Fund program, which will make $7.17 billion available to fund broadband service and devices off-campus.

Gearing Up to Connect Minority Communities

On June 15, the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released a final rule for a new pilot program focused on connecting minority communities.

States Organize to Facilitate and Fund Local Broadband Efforts

Over the past decade, a range of states have developed and executed strategies to methodically chip away at rural broadband challenges.

$1 Billion for Broadband Infrastructure on Tribal Lands

On June 3, Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, and Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced the availability of nearly $1 billion in National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) grants to expand broadband access and adoption on Tribal lands. "Indigenous communities have shaped our nation throughout our history," said Vice President Harris.

NTIA Has Millions for Broadband Infrastructure

On May 19, the US Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced the availability of $288 million in grant funding for the deployment of broadband infrastructure.

How the FCC Will Help Schools and Libraries Bridge the Digital Divide

This week, the Federal Communications Commission adopted rules for the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program, providing $7.171 billion for schools and libraries for the purchase of connected devices and broadband connections for use by students, school staff, and library patrons at locations other than a school or library.

Digital Inclusion Week Indeed

In the coming days, we will see major progress on a $10+ billion federal investment in digital inclusion. This moment is unprecedented. We've never seen such a large commitment to making broadband service affordable for all. And, as Congress starts to focus on long-term solutions for universal broadband, we're seeing the potential for more digital inclusion investment in the coming months.

Here's how you can apply to the FCC for the $50 discount on your broadband bill

You may be eligible for a $50 monthly coronavirus pandemic discount on your home broadband bill starting May 12.