AARP Urges Older Americans Struggling to Access and Afford High-Speed Internet to Enroll in New Emergency Broadband Benefit Program
WASHINGTON, May 12, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- A recent AARP survey found many Americans age 50+ struggle to access and afford high-speed internet. According to the study, 15% of adults 50+ do not have access to any type of internet and 60% say the cost of high-speed internet is a problem. The findings underscore the potential impact of a new Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB) launched today by the Federal Communications Commission. AARP is encouraging all Americans who are struggling to afford their existing high-speed internet service as well as those who cannot afford to subscribe to high-speed internet service to sign up for the EBB program today.
"The pandemic has shown that access to high-speed internet is not a luxury; it's a necessity. People without high-speed internet service are being left behind when it comes to health care, work, connecting with family and friends and education," said Nancy A. LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer. "AARP strongly supports the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program and will continue to advocate for policies that help close the digital divide that has left millions of older adults without internet access."
According to a recent report from Older Adults Technology Services (OATS) from AARP's Aging Connected initiative, in partnership with the Humana Foundation, more than 22 million Americans 65+ still lack broadband at home.
The EBB program aims to help households struggling to afford high-speed internet during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will run until the $3.2 billion in allocatd funds are gone, but no longer than six months after the federal government declares an end to the pandemic.
For resources and more information about EBB, visit aarp.org/EBB, call 1-833-511-0311 or text "internet" to 22777. For information in Spanish, visit aarp.org/FCCSubsidioInternetor call 1-833-511-0311.
Under this short-term program, households may be eligible for a discount on their high-speed internet service of up to:
Americans who may have experienced financial setbacks during the COVID-19 pandemic or are struggling to get by may be eligible for the Emergency Broadband Benefit if they:
AARP has a long history of providing personal technology resources. As part of our digital literacy work, OATS offers digital literacy courses, resources, and events through its flagship program Senior Planet, which are a key part of the AARP Virtual Community Center, an online destination for AARP members and non-members alike. OATS empowers older adults to overcome barriers to digital engagement by fostering skills and giving them the confidence they need to use technology and stay connected.
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