Emergency Broadband Benefit Program FAQs

Looking for Affordable Connectivity Program FAQs?

 

I’m currently enrolled in the EBB Program

My application for the EBB Program was denied

I have questions about the EBB Program

I want to transfer my EBB Program credit to Optimum

 

Currently enrolled in the EBB Program

What’s happening to the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program?
Congress created the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), a new longer-term $14 billion program, which is replacing the EBB Program. This investment in broadband affordability will help ensure qualifying households can afford the connections needed for work, school, health care and more. For more information, please visit getemergencybroadband.org.

What’s changing from the EBB Program to the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)?

  • Monthly Benefit: The new maximum monthly benefit will change from $50 to $30 for households not located on qualifying Tribal lands.
  • New qualification criteria: The qualifying criteria for ACP has expanded to include households receiving Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Additionally, households with gross annual household income at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines are eligible.
  • Removal of some qualification criteria: Households that qualified for the EBB Program due to a substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020 or by meeting the eligibility criteria for a participating provider's COVID-19 program will need to requalify for the Affordable Connectivity Program. EBB program participants who need to take any steps to retain their benefit after the 60-day transition period ends on March 1, 2022 will receive additional information in the coming weeks. For more information, please visit getemergencybroadband.org.
 

What if I am currently enrolled in the EBB Program?
Households enrolled in the EBB Program before 6 pm Eastern on December 30, 2021 will continue to receive their current monthly benefit during a 60-day transition period, beginning on December 31, 2021 and ending on March 1, 2022. EBB Program participants may switch their service offerings and/or their EBB Program service provider at any time during the 60-day transition period. EBB Program participants who need to take any steps to retain their benefit after the 60-day transition period ends on March 1, 2022 will receive additional information in the coming weeks. For more information, please visit getemergencybroadband.org.

Do I need to do anything to get ACP?
Households enrolled in the EBB Program before 6 pm Eastern on December 30, 2021 will continue to receive their current monthly benefit during a 60-day transition period ending on March 1, 2022. Optimum customers that qualified for the EBB Program based on a pandemic related substantial loss of income will be required to requalify for the Affordable Connectivity Program. Information about requalification and actions current EBB Program participants will need to take to transition to the Affordable Connectivity Program will be available in the coming weeks. Please visit getemergencybroadband.org for more information.

I qualified for the EBB Program because my household experienced a substantial loss of income on or after February 29, 2020 due to job loss or furlough. Will I qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)?
The Federal Government removed some EBB Program qualifying criteria from the Affordable Connectivity Program. Optimum households that qualified for the EBB Program due to a pandemic related substantial loss of income will need to requalify for ACP in order to receive the ACP benefit. Any additional steps these households need to take to retain their benefit after the 60-day transition period ends on March 1, 2022 will be communicated in the coming weeks. For more information, please visit getemergencybroadband.org.

Can I change my Internet service tier in the middle of the 60-day EBB Program to ACP transition?
Yes, you can change your Internet service to any tier and retain the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program credit up to $50/month ($75/month in Tribal Lands) during the 60-day transition period.

What happens if I disconnect my service with Optimum during the transition period? Will I still receive the EBB Program credit during the transition period?
No, if you disconnect your service during the transition period you will lose the EBB Program credit.

How long will the monthly Emergency Broadband Benefit Program credit last?
The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is being replaced with the Affordable Connectivity Program. Households that were enrolled in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program as of 6 pm Eastern on December 30, 2021 entered a 60-day transition period on December 31, 2021. The end of the transition period on March 1, 2022 will mark the end of the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program credits. Households that qualify may be eligible to transition to the Affordable Connectivity Program starting on March 2, 2022. More information about actions households may need to take to transition to the Affordable Connectivity Program will be available in the coming weeks.

Can I transfer my Emergency Broadband Benefit Program credit to another person or household?
The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program credit is not transferable to another household and is limited to one per household.

What should I do if I move out of the Optimum footprint?
Please go to smartmove.us to find a service provider in your area, and check if they are participating in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. You will need to re-apply to participate in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program with your new service provider.

After being approved, can I choose to no longer receive the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program credit?
We’ll be sorry to hear it, but if you no longer want to participate in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program with Optimum, or if you need to tell us that you no longer qualify, we’ll make it easy. Just send an email to [email protected] letting us know why you are leaving the program and include the following information as it appears on your bill:

  • Account Number
  • First and Last Name
  • Service Address
 

Denied for the EBB Program

I was denied for the EBB Program. What do I do?
The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program closed to new applications from eligible households on December 30, 2021.

Although the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is no longer accepting new household applications, households may be eligible to participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program, the replacement for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, which launched on December 31, 2021. For more information and to apply, visit us at optimum.com/acp.

About the EBB Program

What is the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program?
The temporary Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program, which was part of the federal COVID-19 relief bill package, allowed Optimum the ability to offer a subsidy to help pay for Internet service to eligible households that qualified based on Federal Government rules between May 12, 2021 and December 31, 2021 when the program was officially replaced by the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Households that were enrolled in the EBB Program at 6pm Eastern on December 31, 2021 qualified to participate in a 60-day transition period ending on March 1, 2022 that allows them to receive the EBB Program benefits until the transition ends if they remain qualified.

Can I still apply to receive the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program credit with Optimum?
The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program closed to new applications from eligible households on December 30, 2021.

If you are receiving an Emergency Broadband Benefit Program credit with another service provider, you may ask us to transfer your benefit to Optimum (which means you will lose the benefit with your current provider once you are enrolled with Optimum) until March 1, 2022.

Although the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is no longer accepting new household applications, households may be eligible to participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program, the replacement for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, which launched on December 31, 2021. For more information and to apply, visit us at optimum.com/acp.

What happens if I apply to enroll in the EBB Program and I am not enrolled in the EBB Program before 6pm Eastern on December 30, 2021?
Applications from households that are not enrolled in the EBB Program before 6 pm Eastern on December 30, 2021 will be reviewed for enrollment into the Affordable Connectivity Program.

How much is the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program monthly credit?
Qualifying households receive an Emergency Broadband Benefit Program credit of up to $50 per month (or up to $75 per month for households on Tribal Lands) towards their Internet service and equipment.

How were households determined eligible for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program?
New and existing Optimum Internet service customers could participate in the EBB Program. To qualify, a member of the household must have met one of the following conditions:

  • Lifeline eligible
  • Laid off or furloughed on or after February 29, 2020 (provided that your income is not greater than $99K for single filer or $198K for joint filers)
  • Free or reduced school lunch or breakfast program eligible in the 2019-2020, 2020-2021, or 2021-2022 school years
  • Pell Grant recipients in the current award year
  • New York City resident attending New York City public school
 

If you think you might qualify for the EBB Program replacement, known as the Affordable Connectivity Program, please visit optimum.com/acp to apply! Additional information can be found on Optimum’s Affordable Connectivity Program FAQs page.

What are the eligibility requirements for Lifeline?
You qualify for Lifeline if you or your dependent is eligible to participate in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)/Food Stamps, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI), Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA), Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefits or if your gross annual income is 135% or less than the federal poverty guidelines for the relevant year and household size. To learn more about the Lifeline eligibility requirements, please visit lifelinesupport.org.

Who developed the eligibility criteria for the Emergency Broadband Benefit program?
The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) adopted the rules and polices creating and governing the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. The Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau, other Commission staff and the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) are overseeing and administering the processes and systems needed to operate the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program.

My Internet is fully or partially paid by my landlord or homeowner’s association. Am I eligible to participate in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program with Optimum?
If your landlord, management company or homeowner’s association was paying for all or part of your Internet bill with Optimum, you were not eligible to participate in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program with Optimum. The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program has been replaced by the Affordable Connectivity Program. See the answer to this question for the Affordable Connectivity Program.

My television bill is fully or partially paid by my landlord or homeowner’s association, but I pay Optimum for my Internet bill in full. Am I eligible to participate in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program with Optimum?
Households that had their television bill fully or partially paid by their landlord or homeowner’s association, but paid separately for their Internet service were eligible to participate in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program with Optimum. The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program has been replaced by the Affordable Connectivity Program. See the answer to this question for the Affordable Connectivity Program. If you think your household may qualify, please visit us at optimum.com/acp for more information and to apply!

Are commercial and small business accounts eligible for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program?
Optimum commercial and business accounts, including small business accounts, were not eligible to participate in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program has been replaced by the Affordable Connectivity Program. See the answer to this question for the Affordable Connectivity Program.

Is a household allowed more than one Emergency Broadband Benefit Program credit? What if two people in the house have separate finances?
Only one Emergency Broadband Benefit Program credit is available per household as defined by the FCC.

Transferring my EBB Program credit to Optimum

If I am an Emergency Broadband Benefit Program participant who wants to transfer my benefit to Optimum during the 60-day transition period, how do I apply for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program with Optimum?
If you are receiving an Emergency Broadband Benefit Program credit with another service provider, you may ask us to transfer your benefit to Optimum (which will mean you will lose the benefit with your current provider once you are enrolled with Optimum) until March 1, 2022. A household can only receive one Emergency Broadband Benefit Program credit at a time.

Before starting the application process, have readily available:

  • Optimum account number, found on your bill or order confirmation email.
  • National Verifier Emergency Broadband Benefit approval.
  • Begin the Optimum application process at optimum.com/acp.
    • You will be asked to provide the National Verifier application ID, your name, and your address as they appear on the National Verifier approval.
    • Your name and address as it appears on the National Verifier letter must match your Optimum application and your account.
    • You may also need to provide other information including your date of birth, your phone number and email address, and other household information.
     
 

Does the Optimum account owner need to apply to transfer the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program credit?
Yes, the Optimum account owner should apply by visiting optimum.com/acp.

What if the Optimum account owner wasn’t qualified for Emergency Broadband Benefit Program?
If the Optimum account owner did not qualify for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, the Optimum account owner may transfer account ownership to the qualified household member here.

How long will it take to find out if my application to transfer my Emergency Broadband Benefit Program credit has been approved?
It may take us up to 5 business days to review and process your submission. We’ll notify you of our decision at the email address you provided within 5 business days.

What should I do if I haven’t received an email from Optimum about my eligibility to transfer my Emergency Broadband Benefit Program credit?
It may take us up to 5 business days after we receive your application to process it and notify you. If it has been more than 6 business days since you applied, but you have not received an enrollment status email, please check your junk or spam folders for our message. If you still have not received an eligibility email, call us at 866.670.0855.

I have a National Verifier approval letter, but I was denied by Optimum. What should I do?
The email Optimum sent in response to your application included a reason you were not qualified to participate in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program with Optimum and, in some cases, instructions on how to fix any issues that prevented you from qualifying. If you have additional questions, please call 888.891.2189. If you believe you are eligible to transfer your Emergency Broadband Benefit Program credit to Optimum, please re-apply at optimum.com/acp.

Can I re-apply for the Emergency Broadband Program Benefit with Optimum if my application to transfer my benefit was not approved?
Yes, if you believe you are eligible to participate in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program with Optimum, please re-apply.

I received a message stating my account number is incorrect. What should I do?
When entering your account number on your Optimum application, you’ll need to type the first 13 digits (without dashes) that appear on your bill or order confirmation email.

NOTE: Be sure to enter ONLY the first 13 digits without dashes and ignore any extra digits.

When will I see the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program credit applied to my account if my application to transfer my credit was approved?
If you have received an email from us approving you to participate in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program with Optimum, you can expect to see the monthly credit within the next two bills.

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