U.S. Recovery Act Program: Frequently Asked Questions
This special program is available to rural unserved households under the Broadband Initiative program, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
What is the RUS and how does it work with the Recovery Act?
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is a direct response by Congress to address the economic crisis that started in the fall of 2008. The Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service (RUS) has provided grant funding to develop infrastructure that includes roads, energy, communications and broadband. Internet service providers like WildBlue have been granted funding to connect rural Americans with affordable broadband service.
How do I qualify for the Recovery Act Program?
The requirements for eligibility are:
- Your residence must be located in a rural area.
- Your residence must not be able to receive service from a wireline Internet service provider such as a phone company, cable company or any other wireline broadband service provider, and must not be covered by another RUS or NTIA loan or grant award.
- You must not be a current satellite broadband customer and you cannot have disconnected your satellite broadband service to become eligible for the Recovery Act Program.
To determine if your address is eligible for the Program, please call us at 1-888-578-7772 or check with you local WildBlue dealer.
Who determines which areas are eligible for the Recovery Act Program?
Eligibility requirements are determined by the Federal Government. WildBlue has developed a software program to determine eligible addresses. In addition, WildBlue’s participation in this program is limited to RUS award regions 1, 2, and 3. The award regions cover the west, midwest, and some southern states like Louisiana and Arkansas. The Recovery Act Program is limited to these specific regions, because the government awarded WildBlue to cover only these specific regions.
WildBlue’s Recovery Act Program covers eligible homes only in the western half of the U.S. (shown in blue). Not all addresses in these states will be eligible.
What money do Recovery Act customers pay in advance?
Recovery Act customers do not pay an installation charge, a shipping and handling charge or a monthly lease fee. Thus, the only upfront payment is for the first month of service.
Is the WildBlue service that comes with the Recovery Act Program any different than regular WildBlue service?
No. The service is the same great WildBlue service that all WildBlue customers receive. The only difference is the price.
I am currently a WildBlue customer. Can I disconnect my current WildBlue service and then reconnect to qualify for the Recovery Act package?
No. If you are currently a customer of WildBlue (or any other satellite broadband company) at your current service location, you are not eligible for the Recovery Act Program.
How long is the warranty on WildBlue equipment for customers who choose the Recovery Act Program?
Recovery Act customers will have a 24 month warranty on their WildBlue equipment, the same as the warranty all other WildBlue customers receive.
Will Recovery Act customers go through a Credit Check?
Yes. Recovery Act customers are required to successfully pass the same credit check that all other WildBlue customers are required to pass, with the exception that Vermont residents are exempt from the credit check requirement.
Is there a contract for the Recovery Act Program?
Yes. The Recovery Act customer agreement requires a 12 month commitment for the Basic package. This is different from other WildBlue packages which require a 24 month commitment.
Will the price of the Recovery Act Program increase once my contract is fulfilled?
No. As long as you maintain the same level of service on a continuous basis at the same address, the price will remain the same.
What happens if I cancel during the first 12 months of service?
If you cancel your service after 30 days from the date of your installation and before the end of your 12 month agreement, you will be responsible for Recovery Act Early Termination Fees (ETFs). These fees are $20 per month for each month left on the agreement. In addition, you will be required to return your equipment in order to avoid paying an unreturned equipment charge.
Why are ETFs lower for your other packages than they are for the Recovery Act packages?
Recovery Act customers have a shorter contract term than our standard 24 months and are not charged any upfront installation fees or shipping and handling fees. In addition, they do not pay monthly lease fees. Should a Recovery Act customer disconnect prior to the end of their term, WildBlue needs to recover a portion of the costs incurred to install and set up the service.
Will disconnected Recovery Act customers be eligible for the Recovery Act package and rate if they choose to reconnect?
No. If a Recovery Act customer disconnects the service for any reason, including nonpayment, they are no longer eligible for Recovery Act pricing and products, with the exception of disconnects due to WildBlue errors.
Can Recovery Act customers purchase their equipment?
No. There is no equipment purchase option for Recovery Act customers.
Why does my neighbor down the street qualify for the Recovery Act Program, but I do not qualify?
Qualification and availability are determined by each specific address. Eligibility will vary by address and the government’s mapping of availability.
The WildBlue salesperson or dealer I spoke with told me I didn’t qualify for WildBlue’s Recovery Act service, but I’m sure I do qualify and I still want it. What can I do to get it?
WildBlue uses information directly from the federal government to determine eligibility of your residential address. If you think your address qualifies, we ask that you fill out the FCC’s Broadband Dead Zone form to notify the federal government that you cannot receive terrestrial broadband.
Does a WildBlue Recovery Act customer who moves from an eligible Recovery Act location to a non-eligible location get to keep the Recovery Act package and pricing?
No. If a customer moves from a Recovery Act location to a non-Recovery Act location, they would need to terminate their Recovery Act customer agreement and sign a new 24 month customer agreement at the time of the new install. They would be only eligible for WildBlue’s standard, non-Recovery Act packages. Any ETFs from the original Recovery Act contract will be waived upon signing the new 2 year agreement for the regular product.
Where can I find out more about how WildBlue works and what I can expect?
For more details about the WildBlue service in general, we suggest reading: