Are you familiar with Lifeline support? Have you used it before and perhaps received a free government phone? If yes, you will have no problem understanding the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program. It is a generous contribution from the government to ensure that as many financially challenged households get access to fast internet connection and thus secure their chance to work from home and access online classes.
However, there is more to the EBB program’s benefits than just internet access – with some luck you can get a free laptop, computer, or tablet as well.
So, without further ado, let’s dive right into the “Does EBB program offer free laptop?” question.
Does EBB Program Offer Free Laptop?
Unfortunately, we must disappoint you that this question doesn’t have a simple yes or no answer. Looking at the officially listed benefits of the program (quoted below), you can see that the program doesn’t promise free laptops or any other devices. However, it does give you a chance to get up to $100 towards your device purchase. Though, it is an option that a participating carrier must be willing to offer, which the word “can” specifies.
While free laptops or any other devices may not be directly offered via the EBB program, the $100 discount may oftentimes be enough to cover the entire value of an entry-level laptop. As such, you can essentially get your hands on a free laptop. Yet, you should keep in mind that the “rules” (as listed below) clearly state that users (t.i. households) need to contribute between $10 and $50. As such, a free laptop may not really be free.
The officially stated benefits of the EBB program:
“The Emergency Broadband Benefit will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. 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.”
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How To Get EBB Program Free Laptop?
Now that you know that getting a free laptop or tablet via the EBB program is possible but not guaranteed, it is time to look at the steps you need to take to get the chance to benefit from the EBB.
First, you need to make sure you are eligible for the EBB program (see the section below). If you are not eligible, there is no point in proceeding with this method of trying to get a free laptop.
However, if you are eligible, your next step would be to apply. You have several options of how to apply for the EBB and we will cover all the details in the “How To Apply For EBB Program Free Laptop?” section below.
Finally, you get to enroll with a particular carrier in your region. If you want to get a free laptop, you need to get in touch with all EBB participating carriers in your area and ask if they offer free or discounted laptops via the EBB. Only once you’ve found a carrier that also offers discounts or free laptops, then you enroll with that carrier.
Read one of our past articles Who Is Eligible For Emergency Broadband Benefit Verizon
Who Is Eligible For The EBB Free Laptop?
A family or a household is eligible if a member of the household meets one of the criteria below:
- 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;
- 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, 2020-2021, or 2021-2022 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; or
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
What Documents Are Required For EBB Program Free Laptop Application?
When applying for EBB (no matter which method you choose), you need to prove your identity and your eligibility. For that purpose, you need to provide copies (either digital (if applying online) or hardcopies (if applying via mail) of certain documents that prove your identity and your eligibility.
Applicants can choose one of the following documents to prove their identity:
- Social Security Number.
- Tribal Identification Number.
- U.S. Driver’s License.
- Other Government-issued ID, such as a state ID.
- U.S. Military ID.
- Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.
When it comes to eligibility proof, you need to provide a document related to your qualifying condition. For instance, if you are eligible based on your low income, you need to provide documents proving that. These can be:
- Prior year’s state, federal or Tribal tax return
- Current income statement from your employer or a paycheck stub
- Veterans Administration statement of benefits
- Unemployment or Workers’ Compensation statement of benefits
- Federal or Tribal notice letter of participation in General Assistance
- Divorce decree, child support award, or other official document containing income information
Furthermore, if you are eligible based on your participation in specific programs, then the required proof documents can be:
- Benefit award letter
- Approval letter
- Statement of benefits
- Benefit verification letter
How To Apply For EBB Program Free Laptop?
Applying for the EBB program just for the sake of getting a discount on your internet plan or to also get a free device, is the same. Remember that it is up to a particular carrier, whether or not they also provide free laptops or other devices.
Once you’ve determined your eligibility using the section above, you must first apply for the program. Then (in order to actually use the benefits that the EBB program offers), you need to contact a participating provider to select a service plan. Moreover, actually, there are three ways for eligible households to apply:
- You can start by directly contacting a participating broadband provider to learn about their application process. In some cases, you may be able to apply through them directly. However, if that option is not available, you will have to apply using option 2 or 3 below, and then contact a participating provider to select an eligible plan (assuming that your application has been approved).
- Visit the official EBB program application website (GetEmergencyBroadband.org). There you can apply online. Moreover, they also provide you with a tool to find participating providers near you. After applying, you will have to contact a participating provider to select an eligible plan.
- If you don’t like applying online, you can do so via mail. This can be done by calling 833-511-0311 for a mail-in application or you can print a copy (getemergencybroadband.org/how-to-apply). Then you need to fill the application out and return it along with hard copies of documents showing proof of eligibility to Emergency Broadband Support Center, P.O. Box 7081, London, KY 40742. Again, after your application has been approved, you will have to contact a participating provider to select an eligible plan.
Once Approved, How Long Will I Receive EBB Benefits (Laptop)?
The exact length of the program is not determined since there are too many variables. Instead, the government set in place this guideline to serve as the explanation of how long will you receive EBB benefits:
“The Emergency Broadband Benefit is an emergency program developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will end once the program funds are exhausted, or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the pandemic, whichever comes first.”
However, the above rule goes for the monthly discount towards the broadband plan. As far as the free laptop goes, you are limited to a one-time discount of up to $100. So, if you find a provider that offers this option and has laptops at such low prices, the laptop will be yours to keep even after the program is over.
You can read one of our past articles How To Qualify For Cricket Emergency Broadband Benefit
What Other Benefits Do I Get If I Qualified For The EBB Program?
As covered in the “Does EBB Program Offer Free Laptop?” section, getting a free laptop via the EBB program is not one of the given benefits. The core benefit of the program is a monthly discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. The discount of up to $100 towards device purchase is an additional, optional benefit that may or may not be offered by a particular participating carrier.
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Does EBB Program Offer Discount Laptop?
While saying that the EBB program offers discounted laptops is certainly more politically correct than claiming that it offers free laptops, it still doesn’t come with a simple yes or no question. As explained in the sections above, one of the benefits of the EBB program suggests that contributing EBB carriers can offer a discount of up to $100 towards a purchase of a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet. As such, it is completely up to the participating carriers to decide if they will offer this type of discount or not.
Which Providers Are Participating In The Emergency Broadband Benefit?
While there is no clear information available on which EBB providers may offer free laptops, you can find a list of carriers that tend to promise discounted laptops below. Again, if you want to get a free laptop, you will need to reach out to all EBB providers in your area and asked if they have a low-price laptop that your EBB one-time-device discount may cover.
Discount laptop provider list:
- Assurance Wireless
- Assist Wireless, LLC
- Cathect Communications
- City Communications
- Excess Telecom
- K&D Wireless
- Metro by T-Mobile
- North American Local
- PCs for People
- AirVoice Wireless, LLC
- American Broadband and Telecommunications Company
- American Samoa Telecommunications Authority
- AmeriMex Communications Corp.
- Arctic Slope Telephone Association Cooperative, Inc.
- Big Bend Telephone
- Boomerang Wireless, LLC
- Canadian Valley Telephone Co.
- CCI Systems, Inc.
- Cellspan Inc.
- Chibardun Telephone Cooperative, Inc.
- Churchill County Tel and Tel System
- Citizens Telephone Company of Hammond, New York, Inc.
- City Communications, Inc
- Commnet Four Corners, LLC
- Commnet of Nevada, LLC
- Compass Broadband Network, Inc.
- ConnectTo Communications, Inc.
- CoxCom, LLC
- Cross Wireless, L.L.C.
- CTC Telcom, Inc.
- Declaration Networks (NeuBeam)
- Dish Wireless LLC
- Easy Telephone Service Company
- Eco Services, LLC
- FastMesh LLC
- GCI Communication Corp.
- Gen Mobile, Inc
- Gibson Connect, LLC
- Gila River Telecommunications, inc
- Global Connection Inc. of America
- Golden Belt Telephone Assoc. Inc.
- Harmony Telephone Company
- Heart of the Catskills Communications Inc.
- Inland Cellular LLC
- Inventive Wireless of Nebraska
- Jefferson Telephone Company
- Kimberly F. Cosby DBA Idle Inn Wireless
- LocalTel Communications
- MiBroadband, LLC
- Midwest Data Center, Inc.
- Midwest Energy Cooperative
- Mountain West Technologies Corporation
- Native Network, Inc.
- Nextlink Internet
- NMSurf, Inc.
- Northern Arapaho Tribal Industries, Inc.
- NTUA Wireless, LLC
- Pembroke Telephone Company, Inc.
- People’s Choice Communications Inc.
- Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative
- Peoples Telecom, LLC
- Pine Belt Broadcasting, L.L.C.
- Pine Belt Cellular, Inc.
- Plains Internet LLC
- PTI Pacifica Inc.
- Puerto Rico Telephone Company, Inc.
- Q Link Wireless LLC
- QCOL, Inc.
- REAL Mobile, Inc.
- Red Pocket, Inc
- Rock Port Telephone Company
- San Carlos Apache Telecommunications Utility Inc.
- Selectel, Inc.
- Subsector Solutions Corp.
- Succeed, Inc.
- SurgePhone Wireless LLC
- TAG Mobile, LLC
- TerraCom, Inc.
- The Benton Ridge Telephone Company
- The Preston Telephone Company
- The Smart Community Initiative, Inc.
- TM Telecomm Corp
- TNC Communications, Inc.
- Torch Wireless
- TracFone Wireless Inc.
- Triplet Mountain Communications, Inc.
- TruConnect Communications, Inc.
- True Wireless
- Uintah Basin Electronic Telecommunications, LLC
- United Telephone Company
- Viya Wireless
- VPNet, INc
- W.A.T.C.H. TV Company
- Windstream Communications, LLC
- Windy City Cellular, LLC
- WireStar, Inc.
- Wisper ISP, LLC
- Xchange Telecom LLC
- Yurok Tribe of the Yurok Reservation
To access the full list of participating providers arranged by state, follow this link: fcc.gov/emergency-broadband-benefit-providers.
How To Check If The EBB Program Is Available In My Area?
As far as the EBB program goes, it is a nationwide program and as such applicable to all states. However, in order for you to benefit from the program, you need to have a provider in your area that participates in the EBB. As such, the simplest way to ensure, whether or not the EBB program’s benefits are within your reach, you should use the link provided at the end of the previous section. There you can look for providers in your state and then use their website to see if they are offering EBB in your particular area.
In case there is no detailed information available on their website, make sure to call their support.
Alternative Way To Get Free Laptop For Low-Income People
We have pointed out the fact that the EBB program doesn’t guarantee free laptops several times already. As such, we want to provide you with some alternative options that may (again, nothing is guaranteed) get you a free laptop if your household falls in the low-income category.
Adaptive.org is an organization that focuses on getting computers and laptops into the hands of low-income households where kids need them. As such, their program requires a household to have children age 5 up to college age can qualify for either a free PC or laptop.
In addition, Adaptive.org also works to provide senior citizens and citizens with disabilities with computers. For more information, call 1-800-763-3097.
Cfy.org is a national organization that collaborates with the government to provide computers, both PCs and laptops, to those in need. They also tend to include Internet packages and learning programs. In addition, Cfy.org also offers a free IT help desk for moments when your computer is causing issues. Another thing they focus on is a so-called triangle of learning. Via this philosophy, they suggest that working together as a unit (teachers, students, parents) is important to get the most out of the education.
Everyone On is an organization that focuses on connecting those in need of internet access with internet service providers and also with devices. One of their goals is to provide no-cost, low-cost or affordable computers to those financially challenged. They provide a special tool called the locator tool that helps those in need locate internet offers, device offers, and digital literacy training providers right in their own community. This tool can be accessed right on their website.
National Cristina Foundation
The National Cristina Foundation is a national foundation collaborating with organizations all across the US. They focus on ensuring the organizations they assist are non-profits whose goals are consistent with their own, which is to get technology into the hands of those that can’t afford to attain it themselves.
They tend to gather large-scale donations, then redistribute them to those organizations that can refurbish or use the donations and get them passed out to households most in need at the local level.
The On It Foundation
The On It (Opportunities Necessary to Increase Learning) Foundation focuses on providing children from grades K through 12 with computers. Here are the required things to be eligible:
- Low-income status
- Child or children in grades K to 12
- Children must attend a public school in the US
- Participate in a free or reduced lunch program
Moreover, to apply, you must write a letter to this address:
- The On It Foundation
- ATTN: Free Computer Application
- 18520 NW 67th Avenue Ste. 186
- Miami FL 33015
The letter must include the following information:
- Student’s name
- School Name, address, and phone number
- Parent/guardian’s name, address, and phone number
Furthermore, the parent or guardian must sign the letter. In addition, a letter from the school must also be sent. The school’s letter should be on school letterhead and explicitly state your child’s eligibility for free and reduced lunch.
World Computer Exchange
World Computer Exchange is another reputable organization that works to get computers into the hands of those in need all across the globe. They work with a variety of partners to help distribute computers and technology.
They work with NGOs, governments, schools, and libraries. Moreover, they are a need-based program, which means that your application must show your low-income status. Once you qualify, you may get a computer and internet access established.
EBB Free Laptop Others Thing You Should Know
How will I know if I successfully enrolled in the EBB program?
You will receive a call, an SMS, or an email from a provider stating that your enrollment has been approved, and your EBB discount will be applied to your account within the upcoming billing cycles.
Can I use the benefit to cover a multi-month internet package?
Yes. The EBB benefits are designed to offer a monthly discount towards a broadband plan.
Can you get the EBB if you lost income in 2020, but got a new job in 2021?
If you still meet any of the eligibility conditions presented in the “Who Is Eligible For The EBB Free Laptop?” section, you may be able to get the EBB support even if you have a new job. Of course, assuming that your new job still qualifies you as a low-income household.
Is the EBB only open to U.S. citizens?
As long as you reside in the USA, you may be eligible for EBB support.
Can retirees apply for the EBB?
Yes. Retirees that qualify, may also apply for the EBB program.
Is the Emergency Broadband Benefit permanent?
No. Even though there is no specific end date set in place, the official program’s website clearly states that the program will end when specific conditions are met. Here are the details:
“The EBB is an emergency program developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will end once the program funds are exhausted, or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the pandemic, whichever comes first.”