Get Help Paying for Low-Cost, High-Speed Internet.
The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) is a government program to help households struggling to pay for internet service during the pandemic.
There is a new infrastructure bill that will be effective on January 1, 2022. This bill changes the EBB into a permanent benefit program called the Affordable Connectivity Program that will expand the number of Americans eligible for discounted internet service. Learn more on AARP.org.
What Can You Do Online?
So much of today’s information, communication, and fun happens online, that the internet is more essential than ever before. When you’re online, your everyday tasks become cheaper, easier, and more efficient. You can use the internet to bring the world into your home.
Older adults can access a variety of completely free courses, programs, and activities to learn new skills, save money, get in shape, and make new friends through the nonprofit organization Senior Planet from AARP’s website: SeniorPlanet.org.
Click here to learn more about the EBB and what you can do online, also available in Spanish: ¿Qué puede hacer en línea?.
Do You Qualify for EBB?
A household is eligible for EBB if one member of the household meets any of the following criteria:
Note that the Emergency Broadband Benefit is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household. For more information, visit the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) website.
How to Enroll in EBB
Eligible households can enroll directly through participating broadband providers or with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). USAC is the company that administers the FCC’s Lifeline Program. People who are not currently in Lifeline must apply for the EBB Program through the National Lifeline Verifier, which is currently required to enroll in the FCC’s Lifeline benefit program.
Participants of the FCC’s Lifeline program do not need to apply for the EBB Program and must simply opt-in to a plan provided by a participating internet service provider.
The EBB will help bring eligible households online and allow them to connect with online resources, digital health services, and virtual programming – like Senior Planet. OATS’ new Aging Connected report found that nearly 22 million U.S. seniors lack broadband access at home. In addition, it found that older adults who were digitally isolated were more at risk of social isolation, which has been linked to negative health outcomes, reduced quality of life, and premature death.
The EBB program offers affordable, high-speed internet to eligible households, which can help improve the lives of older Americans who take advantage of the program benefits and are able to be more meaningfully engaged online.
The EBB provides a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on Tribal lands.
Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute $10-$50 toward the purchase price.
You can also learn more about the EBB on the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) website.
Various broadband providers, including those offering landline and wireless broadband, are participating in the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB). Check with the broadband providers in your area to learn about their plans for program participation and eligible service offerings, or use this search tool to find participating EBB providers near you.
At this time, the EBB program will be offered until funds run out or up to six months after the pandemic ends (as determined by the Department of Health and Human Services), whichever happens first.
Getting online can help older adults more fully participate in modern life – from communicating with loved ones and participating in virtual activities, to accessing tele-health care and staying informed on the latest news. OATS is a nonprofit that operates Senior Planet, where older adults can access a variety of free courses, programs, and activities to help them learn new skills, save money, get in shape, and make new friends.
For more information on classes and activities offered, visit: https://seniorplanet.org/aging-connected.
Last month, President Biden signed into law a bipartisan infrastructure bill that includes $65 billion to improve high-speed internet access and affordability. The bill changes the temporary Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) into a permanent benefit program. Called the Affordable Connectivity Program, it expands the number of Americans eligible for discounted Internet service. Learn more on AARP.org.
About Aging Connected
Aging Connected is a nationwide campaign to bring one million American seniors online by 2022. Older adults are the largest group in the United States without meaningful connection to the internet — leading to lack of access to public health information, diminished social support, and high rates of social isolation.
Older Adults Technology Services (OATS) from AARP and the Humana Foundation are partnering to build a national movement that brings together telecommunications companies, nonprofit service providers, and public sector agencies to get more seniors online and expand access to affordable broadband internet.
By connecting with affordable, underutilized internet offerings in their area, older Americans will be able to better participate in basic life activities — from shopping and communicating with loved ones, to managing personal health and finances.