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GCI Launches Program to Provide Free Internet to Alaskans in Need

May 11, 2021 | News, Telecom & Tech

GCI will deliver free internet to Alaskans in need as part of the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBBP). The EBBP, a temporary program the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced earlier this year, will provide internet to qualifying households struggling to pay for internet service during the pandemic. GCI will offer its standard internet plan for free to those who qualify.

Program eligibility is defined by the FCC. Qualifying criteria includes: households that qualify for free or reduced-price school lunch or breakfast under federal programs; individuals who demonstrate a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020; individuals who received a Pell Grant this year; and households with one member who is already eligible for the federal Lifeline program, which provides discounts on phone service to qualifying individuals.

“Internet connectivity through this pandemic has proved more important than ever,” says GCI’s Chief Marketing Officer Kate Slyker. “GCI has spearheaded a number of initiatives supporting Alaskans since March 2020 when COVID-19 hit the state, and we’re proud to partner with the FCC to continue to help Alaskans who have been financially impacted.”

The program provides eligible new and existing GCI customers with a $75 per month credit, fully covering the cost of GCI’s entry-level internet plan on Alaska’s most-advanced network. Alternatively, customers can choose to use the credit to upgrade an existing plan. Eligible households may purchase a Samsung tablet, valued at $139.99, for a one-time payment of only $10.99 under the program. Only one tablet will be offered per household while supplies last. 

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“Providing fast, reliable internet access is key to closing the digital divide and bringing digital equity to our state,” says GCI Chief Communications Officer Heather Handyside. “The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program will help more Alaskans work from home, access the education resources they need, and stay connected to each other.”

Those interested in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program must pre-qualify for the program through the FCC’s National Verifier which will be available on May 12. After customers have been verified, they must opt into the program through GCI. More information about the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program can be found at gci.com/internet/emergency-broadband-benefit-program and fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit.

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