New benefit program to help expand access to high-speed internet

ABC50 NOW

NEW YORK (WWTI) — There is a new benefit program aimed toward helping residents that do not have high-speed internet.

AARP is encouraging residents who are without high-speed internet access to look into the Emergency Broadband Benefit program. This new program is a $3.2 billion FCC program to help Americans access affordable, high-speed internet they need to have during the COVID pandemic.

“Too many New Yorkers 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.” AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel said.

The program will end when the funding is spent or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares the end of the federal emergency.

New York residents may be eligible for a discount on their high-speed internet service of up to:

  • $50 a month discount for high-speed internet services
  • $75 a month discount for high-speed internet on Tribal lands
  • One-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop computer or tablet bought through a participating provider

In order to be eligible residents must:

  • Qualify for the Lifeline program, as well as those who participate in certain federal assistant 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 of less than $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.

For more information about the Emergency Broadband Benefit program, visit AARP’s website, text the word “INTERNET” to 22777 or call 1-833-511-0311.

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