AARP Vermont today encouraged residents who are without access to high-speed internet, or struggling to afford it, to look into the recently launched Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program.
The EBB is a $3.2 billion Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program to help Americans access the affordable, high-speed internet they need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic has shown our reliance on high-speed internet,” said Greg Marchildon, AARP Vermont state director. “But too many Vermonters are being left behind. Patients navigating telehealth, students learning remotely, and loved ones staying connected with family members by video chat are only a few of the critical tasks that require a high-speed connection.”
Under this short-term program, Vermont residents may be eligible for a discount on their high-speed internet service of up to:
· $50/month discount for high-speed internet services.
· $75/month discount for high-speed internet services for households on Tribal lands.
· A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop computer or tablet purchased through a participating provider
This past year, many Vermonters experienced financial setbacks and have struggled to get by, which could qualify them for the program. Residents may be eligible for the EBB if they:
· Qualify for the Lifeline program, as well as those who participate in certain federal assistance programs, such as Medicaid, SNAP, and SSI benefits.
· Experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020, and the household had a total income in 2020 below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers.
· Meet the criteria for a participating internet provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
Eligible households will enroll through participating broadband providers.
“Helping older adults get and stay connected to high-speed internet is a key area of focus for AARP,” said Marchildon “AARP fought hard for the EBB Program at the federal level and here in Vermont. We are currently lobbying in the Vermont Legislature to establish longer term affordability measures for lower income Vermonters.”
For more information about EBB, visit aarp.org/EBB, text INTERNET to 22777 or call 800-891-7425.