May 3, 2021

Eligible Households on Tribal Lands Can Enroll in FCC Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

Holland & Knight Alert
Kayla Gebeck Carroll

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced on April 29, 2021, that starting May 12, 2021, eligible households will be able to enroll in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB Program) through an approved provider or by visiting the program's website.

Benefits for Eligible Households on Tribal Lands

The $3.2 billion EBB Program, established through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (Pub. L. 116-260), allows eligible households on "tribal lands" to receive a discount of up to $75 off the cost of internet service per month and a subsidy of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop computer or tablet. Each household is eligible to receive only one subsidy for a laptop, desktop computer or tablet. The program will end when there are no remaining funds, or six months after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declares an end to the pandemic, whichever comes first. 

Tribal lands are defined as "any federally recognized Indian tribe's reservation, pueblo, or colony, including former reservations in Oklahoma; Alaska Native regions established pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (85 Stat. 688); Indian allotments; Hawaiian Home Lands – areas held in trust for Native Hawaiians by the state of Hawaii, pursuant to the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920 July 9, 1921, 42 Stat. 108, et. seq., as amended; and any land designated as such by the Commission for purposes of this subpart pursuant to the designation process in § 54.412." 47 CFR § 54.400(e).

Eligible Households

Households that qualify for the EBB Program include:

  • households that already participate in their broadband provider's existing low-income or pandemic relief program
  • households where an individual qualifies for the FCC's Lifeline program, Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) general assistance, tribally administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Head Start (only those households meeting its income qualifying standard) or the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
  • households with children receiving free and reduced-price lunch through the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act or school breakfast under Section 4 of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966
  • households where an individual receives a Pell Grant under Section 401 of the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965 in the current award year
  • households with recently laid-off or furloughed workers who have experienced a substantial loss of income since Feb. 29, 2020

For more information on the EBB Program, please contact the authors or another member of Holland & Knight's Native American Law Team.

Information contained in this alert is for the general education and knowledge of our readers. It is not designed to be, and should not be used as, the sole source of information when analyzing and resolving a legal problem, and it should not be substituted for legal advice, which relies on a specific factual analysis. Moreover, the laws of each jurisdiction are different and are constantly changing. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. If you have specific questions regarding a particular fact situation, we urge you to consult the authors of this publication, your Holland & Knight representative or other competent legal counsel.

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