It’s difficult to comprehend the importance high-speed internet access played for millions of Wisconsinites over the last year. It served as a replacement to trips to the store as well as an electronic gateway to schools, clinics and workplaces.

Unfortunately, the accessibility and affordability of high-speed internet also served as a barrier for many who found themselves increasingly isolated and without many options for day-to-day activities during the pandemic.

However, we’re hopeful about a benefit that may help eliminate some of the barriers to high-speed internet access. The recently launched Emergency Broadband Benefit is an opportunity for Wisconsinites to possibly receive assistance for their internet needs.

The EBB is a $3.2 billion Federal Communications Commission program to help Americans access the affordable, high-speed internet they need. Tens of thousands of households have already signed up for the EBB.

Under this short-term program, 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.

Additionally, 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 Feb. 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.

AARP fought hard for the EBB Program and we want to make sure people are aware of this benefit. For more information visit aarp.org/EBB, text INTERNET to 22777 or call 1-833-511-0311.

Through programs like EBB and others, we’re hopeful the recovery can and will continue for the millions of Wisconsinites across our great state who showed tremendous resilience in the face of enormous financial, physical, and emotional challenges.

Sam Wilson

Madison

AARP Wisconsin state director

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