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New federal program offers free high-speed internet for families

The Emergency Broadband Benefit is a new federal program designed to help low-income families have access to high-speed internet.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — If there's something the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, it's that work and school from home didn't work for everyone due to a lack of access to broadband internet for many people. 

Many people didn't have the necessary internet speed to log on and stay connected without slowdowns, pixelated screens or dropped signals. 

But have you heard of the Emergency Broadband Benefit? It's a new federal program that will help eligible households connect to broadband. 

“Broadband is absolutely essential for people in North Carolina,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “It helps folks access the economy, telemedicine, and education. Eligible North Carolinians should apply to the emergency broadband benefit today to get help accessing this critical resource.”

The FCC is trying to make broadband accessible to all people in the United States. How do you qualify? First, you must have an income that is at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines or participate in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, or Lifeline.

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Your family must be approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA community eligibility provision.  And you must have experienced a substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough since Feb. 29, 2020, and your household must have had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers. 

RELATED: Child tax credit: Should you take the monthly payment or the lump sum?

While this is good, there is always something bad to watch for. You should always beware of fake programs that ask you to join, pay a fee or a middle person offering to help for a fee. 

The Emergency Broadband Benefit is a free program. You just have to qualify, that's it. Click here to learn more about the program and see if you qualify.