AARP New Mexico encourages residents who are struggling to afford high-speed internet to look into the recently launched Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program.
The EBB is a $3.2 billion Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program to help Americans access the affordable, high-speed internet they need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic has shown how necessary having high-speed internet is to everyday life,” said Joseph P. Sanchez, AARP New Mexico State Director. “But too many New Mexicans just can’t afford it. As a result, people are being left behind without access to telehealth, students learning remotely and loved ones can’t connect with each other, especially those in nursing homes and other facilities.”
Under this short-term program, New Mexico residents may be eligible for a discount on their high-speed internet service of up to:
- $50/month discount for high-speed internet services.
- $75/month discount for high-speed internet services for households on Tribal lands.
- A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop computer or tablet purchased through a participating provider
This past year, many individuals experienced financial setbacks and have struggled to get by, which could qualify them for the program. Residents may be eligible for the EBB if they:
- Qualify for the Lifeline program, as well as those who participate in certain federal assistance programs, such as Medicaid, SNAP, and SSI benefits.
- Experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020, and the household had a total income in 2020 below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers.
- Meet the criteria for a participating internet provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
Eligible households will enroll through participating broadband providers.
“Helping older adults get and stay connected to high-speed internet is a key area of focus for AARP. That is why AARP fought hard for the EBB Program at the federal level and here in New Mexico,” Sanchez said.
AARP New Mexico worked hard during the 2021 Legislative Session to pass bills that would improve broadband speed and access. Those bills included Senate Bill 93, the Broadband Office and Expansion Act, sponsored by Sen. Padilla and Sen. Liz Stefanics, and a similar bill, House Bill 10, the Connect New Mexico Act, sponsored by Rep. Chandler, Rep. Natalie Figueroa, Rep. Joy Garratt, Rep. Susan Herrera, and Rep. Candie Sweetser. (See article this page.)
For more information about EBB, visit aarp.org/EBB, text INTERNET to 22777 or call 1-833-511-0311.