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.
get more stories like this via email
A program that would provide food benefits to kids during the summer still needs funding approval from the Oregon Legislature. The state has …
Minnesota lawmakers face growing calls this session to boost access to affordable housing and there is a proposal to lend a voice to existing renters …
Health and Wellness
Legislation in Massachusetts would ban some of the tactics used by "crisis pregnancy centers" to prevent people from having abortions. Many of the …
A new report said philanthropic organizations need to reexamine the source of their wealth, which it asserted often came from systemic racism and …
Americans' confidence in higher education has plummeted but students and staff at Maine's Colby College hope continued community outreach will help br…
It is National Invasive Species Awareness Week, and plants and critters not native to the Northwest are wreaking havoc on some landscapes, including …
Health and Wellness
A new program in a Washington public library system is helping people monitor their blood pressure at home. The American Heart Association has …
By Kayla Benjamin for The Washington Informer.Broadcast version by Brett Peveto for Maryland News Connection reporting for the Solutions Journalism Ne…