Kinetic by Windstream, a long-trusted community partner for high-speed internet, announced today it plans to participate in the Federal Communication Commission’s Emergency Broadband Benefit program that commissioners unanimously voted to approve last week. The FCC did not give an official start date for the program, only that it would be within the next 60 days.
“As soon as the FCC is ready to take this program live, we are ready to implement it so any eligible customer in our 18-state footprint who needs internet service can get and stay connected,” said Jeff Auman, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Kinetic. “Many in the communities we serve are facing unique financial challenges right now, and we are proud to use public-private partnerships to connect people to what’s important.”
Eligible customers will receive a bill credit of up to $50 per month towards broadband service. Customers on Tribal lands will be eligible for $75 per month.
According to the FCC, the $3.2 billion program is intended to help U.S. households that are struggling to pay for internet service during the pandemic. With this new benefit, eligible households can get or stay connected in order to work remotely or find jobs, access critical healthcare services, and keep students connected to the classroom.
To be eligible, customers must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Have experienced a substantial loss of income since Feb 29, 2020, subject to certain requirements
- Currently qualify for free and reduced lunch
- Have received a federal Pell Grant in the current award year
- Meet the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program
- Currently qualify for Lifeline services (this benefit may be received in addition to a wireless benefit)
In a statement, Acting FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel said, “No one should have to choose between paying their internet bill or paying to put food on the table. With the help of the Emergency Broadband Benefit, we have a new way for households to access virtual learning, for patients to connect to telehealth providers, and for those struggling in this pandemic to learn new online skills and seek their next job.”
Kinetic will post more details on windstream.com as they become available from the FCC to let customers know when and how they can begin signing up for the credits.