You May Have Help with High-Speed Internet Thanks to Pandemic
Monday, June 7, 2021
BOISE, Idaho - The internet has become a key facet to life during the pandemic, but access still lags in many parts of the country.
To help people afford high-speed internet, the Federal Communications Commission has set up the Emergency Broadband Benefit.
The $3.2 billion program helps reduce prices for high-speed internet services to people who have experienced financial setbacks during the pandemic or are struggling to get by.
Lupe Wissel is state director of AARP Idaho.
"What we have learned from the COVID pandemic is that the access to high-[speed] internet is not a luxury," said Wissel. "It's really a necessity."
About 70% of Idahoans have access to broadband internet, but gaps in service are greater for people in rural areas and living on tribal lands.
The Emergency Broadband Benefit is available now and offers up to $50 per month off internet services and up to $75 per month off for households on tribal lands.
The program also offers up to $100 off the purchase of a laptop, desktop computer or tablet through participating service providers.
Wissel said internet access has been important in a number of settings, such as helping people work from home, and especially for keeping people connected with family.
"Nursing homes, for example, and families that live out in rural communities needing to make contact with their loved ones during that time of need," said Wissel. "You're also looking at telehealth - being able to access your doctor or the nurses and being able to do that from your home."
Folks who qualify include people who participate in certain federal benefits programs, such as Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and households that experienced a substantial loss of income because of the pandemic.
The FCC has a list of participating service providers and people can apply through those providers.
Disclosure: AARP Idaho contributes to our fund for reporting on Consumer Issues, Energy Policy, Health Issues, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
get more stories like this via email
RALEIGH, N.C. -- More than $1 million in COVID-19 relief grants are helping rural organizations increase their focus on locally sourced food relief…
DES MOINES, Iowa -- This fall, the Iowa Utilities Board is hosting meetings to inform the public about a proposed underground pipeline, which would …
MANDAN, N.D. -- North Dakota has had nearly 18,000 job openings in recent months, with roughly 1,000 in construction. A labor leader in the trades …
Health and Wellness
DAYTON, Ohio -- An Ohio county is taking a trauma-informed approach to its work on preventing marijuana use in teens. As marijuana policy changes …
DENVER -- As Congress considers making significant investments in the nation's child-care system, children's advocates say now is the time to make …
MONTEREY BAY, Calif. - This week, conservation groups are celebrating Sea Otter Awareness Week with online and in-person events across the state…
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Admission to any state park in Nevada is free this coming Saturday, as part of the first Nevada Public Lands Week - with a series …
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A new Redistricting Advisory Council announced last week by Gov. Tom Wolf's office will focus on reducing gerrymandering as new …