Smyth County Families Eligible for Federal Emergency Broadband Benefit

Smyth County families with students enrolled in the county's public schools will be eligible for the new federal Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) beginning in May. The EBB program is a Federal Communications Commission program to help families and households struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price. Any household with a student who is eligible to receive free and reduced price meals through the federal school lunch/breakfast program is eligible. Since all Smyth County Public Schools students are eligible under the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Community Eligible Provision, any family with a student is eligible for the EBB.

Families without students in public schools may also be eligible for the EBB, if they meet any of the following criteria:

  • 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;
  • 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; or
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider's existing low-income or COVID-19 program.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household.

How to Sign Up

Eligible households will be able to enroll in the program beginning May 12. To enroll, contact your Internet Service Provider or visit

Note that Internet Service Providers are not required to participate in the program. If your ISP does not participate, you will not be able to receive the EBB. A list of providers in Virginia is here. The FCC has also published a Frequently Asked Questions page about the EBB. Source: FCC Emergency Broadband Benefit