Statewide Campaign Will Help Families Connect to Internet

parents with baby looking at computer

A new program is using federal COVID-19 relief funding to provide discounts on home internet services and digital devices to eligible Illinois families.

Heartland Forward, along with federal, state, and local collaborators, is coordinating a public awareness campaign to ensure eligible families across Illinois are aware of this opportunity.

According to the Universal Service Administrative Co. (USAC) website, households are eligible if any member meets one of the following criteria:

  • has an income that is at or below 135 percent of the federal poverty guidelines or has participated in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, or the FCC’s Lifeline program;
  • has been approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch or breakfast program;
  • has received a federal Pell Grant during the current award year; or
  • has experienced a substantial loss of income through job loss or furlough since Feb. 29, 2020, or meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.

Those eligible can enroll in the program by signing up through a participating broadband provider or by calling (833) 511-0311 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. seven days a week to request a mail-in application. If an applicant has access to the internet, they can apply online at getemergencybroadband.org.

This article in Illinois Tech Today provides more details about the new program.