Thursday, August 11, 2022


A new report says Georgia should step up for mothers and infants, Oregon communities force a polluter to shut down, and we have an update on the FBI's probe of Trump allies, including Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa.


Inflation could be at a turning point, House members debate the expansion of the IRS, and former President Donald Trump invokes the Fifth Amendment in a deposition over his business practices.


Infrastructure funding is on its way, ranchers anticipate money from the Inflation Reduction Act, and rural America is becoming more diverse, but you wouldn't know it by looking at the leadership.

Temporary Program Can Help WI Residents with Internet Bills


Monday, May 24, 2021   

TOMAHAWK, Wis. - Wisconsin residents struggling to afford internet service during the pandemic can turn to a federal program for help. Supporters say it addresses a component of broadband access that is sometimes overlooked.

Through its Emergency Broadband Benefit, the Federal Communications Commission provides service discounts of up to $50 a month for qualifying households, and $75 a month for homes on tribal lands.

Sue Dierksen, who lives in north-central Wisconsin, said slow service causes many limitations, including her family's ability to use telemedicine. And all around her, Dierksen said affordability is a concern for many residents, including those over 50.

"You couple that with what's going on with prescription drugs and health care," said Dierksen. "Something's got to give."

In Wisconsin, the average internet cost per megabit is $4.32, which is higher than the national rate.

People are urged to sign up quickly, as the Emergency Broadband Benefit will be in force either until its funds are gone, or six months after the pandemic is over. Eligible households can apply through participating internet service providers.

In recent years, state and federal leaders have made efforts to address broadband gaps, including infrastructure needs in rural areas. But cost can still be intimidating for people to even sign up for service, and AARP Wisconsin's State Director Sam Wilson said this program makes that less of a worry.

"We're hoping this program will help a lot of folks take that initial step," said Wilson. "Connect them more with family members, connect them more with services in their community."

During the crisis, Wilson noted people with internet access could rely on options like Amazon deliveries to avoid day-to-day disruptions. But those without service or with slow download speeds saw their world turned upside-down in a flash.

Dierksen said she feels it's important to make sure all parts of the state stay connected - because when you need help, internet access usually plays a role.

"Every state agency, and probably almost every county agency," said Dierksen, "relies on you using the internet to do their work and to communicate with them, as does Social Security and Medicare."

The program coincides with Gov. Tony Evers directing $100 million of COVID-relief money to broadband expansion grants. He also wants the Legislature to commit $200 million to improve access, but it's uncertain if Republican leaders will approve that request.

Disclosure: AARP Wisconsin contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Consumer Issues, 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
Pictured in the center is Francine "Fran" Pace, one of 11 graduates of this summer's Youth Leadership Academy for Iowans with disabilities. (Photo courtesy of DD Council).

Health and Wellness

Nearly a dozen Iowa youths with disabilities are taking newly developed leadership skills out into the world. A summer academy wrapped up this month…


A coalition of community organizations teamed up in Oregon to force a chronic polluter out of business, and bring environmental justice to a nearby …

Health and Wellness

During National Health Center Week, health-care advocates are highlighting the work Community Health Centers are doing to improve access to care …

The Inflation Reduction Act would cap the price of insulin at $35 a month for people on Medicare. (Sherry Young/Adobestock)

Health and Wellness

Health advocates are hailing the new Inflation Reduction Act, saying it would be the biggest health-care reform since the Affordable Care Act…

Social Issues

As parts of Southern California suffer with triple-digit temperatures, state lawmakers are set to vote today on two bills to study and mitigate heat …

Nearly half of Hispanic or Latina women of reproductive age in Georgia are uninsured. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

While abortion care is in the headlines, a new report says accessing other health-care services is a challenge for many women in Georgia. Data from …


Hunters, landowners and wildlife managers are gathering in Montana to discuss the need for novel approaches to elk management. The 2022 Elk …


Next week, North Dakota landowners will get a chance to hear updates on a proposed underground pipeline for transporting and sequestering carbon …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021