FTC participating in federal program to provide financial assistance to internet customers facing hardships during coronavirus pandemic

Households could get up to $50 in monthly credits through EBB Program

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FTC is scheduled to begin enrollment on May 12 for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBBP), a temporary initiative created by the federal government to assist households struggling financially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

All policies associated with the project, including the scheduled start date, are at the discretion of and under the supervision of the Federal Communications Commission.

Households meeting specific, income-related eligibility requirements must first get qualified through the National Verifier at GetEmergencyBroadband.org before enrolling in the program, which can mean a temporary credit of up to $50 monthly on their internet bills. The program will remain in operation until the $3.2 billion allocated by Congress is exhausted or until six months after the federal “Emergency Period” as defined by federal officials, whichever comes first.

Qualifying Internet Service providers had the option to take part in this project and FTC, understanding the importance of internet access, joined this group.

To enroll in the EBBP with FTC, participants must first be approved under the National Verifier. To apply through the National Verifier, they have to go to getemergencybroadband.org/how-to-apply/ and follow the directions. Once they have been approved, they will need to take their paperwork by one of FTC’s seven stores and sign an agreement that states they understand the EBBP is temporary and rates will revert to retail prices at the conclusion of the program.

The following are the criteria for individuals to qualify:

  • Has an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid or Lifeline. Those who are already qualified for Lifeline do not need to re-apply;
  • Approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year;
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
  • Experienced a substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020, and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers.

Those who have questions as to whether they meet the above criteria can go to getemergencybroadband.org/do-i-qualify/

The credit, which will be placed directly on the applicants’ monthly bill, can be applied to any FTC internet plan. If the monthly rate exceeds the $50, the applicant will be required to pay the difference. If the rate falls below $50, the credit will be the total amount of the plan. The normal security deposit process is being waived for the EBBP. Once the temporary funding program ends, participants will be subject to standard retail rates to continue receiving service.

ABOUT FTC

Founded in 1951, Farmers Telephone Cooperative, Inc. is a local, multifaceted telecommunications company headquartered in Kingstree, S.C. Serving more than 60,000 customers within a coverage area of 3,000 square miles, FTC provides cutting-edge technology to businesses and residents of Clarendon, lower Florence, Lee, Sumter and Williamsburg counties.

A veteran of the telephone industry, FTC has evolved into a state-of-the-art organization, offering internet, wireless, voice, security and digital TV. Customers can choose from a wide array of products and services at any of the company’s seven full-service stores.

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