AARP AARP States Oklahoma

New Program Available to Help Eligible Oklahomans Afford High-Speed Internet

New long-term help is now available for Oklahoma residents struggling to afford the high-speed internet services they need to stay connected to family members, friends, health care providers, work and more. Applications are now being accepted for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), a $14.2 billion federal program created late last year as part of the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

The ACP modifies and extends the existing temporary Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program, implemented last year as part of COVID-19 relief. The ACP provides eligible recipients a discount of up to $30 per month for high-speed internet services. For Oklahomans living on tribal lands, the monthly household benefit is $75 per month (this encompasses most Oklahoma residences, and tribal affiliation is not required for eligibility - see eligibility map HERE.) It also includes a one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop computer or tablet purchased through a participating provider.

More than 8.5 million Americans received support during the EBB's 8-month tenure in 2021, nearly 40% of whom were age 50+. More than 137,000 Oklahomans utilized EBB support during that timeframe.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that access to high-speed internet is not a luxury. It is a necessity," said Sean Voskuhl, AARP Oklahoma state director. "AARP fought for the Affordable Connectivity Program because too many Americans do not have access to the affordable, high-speed internet they need to work, attend school, see the doctor and avoid social isolation."

Oklahoma residents eligible to apply for the ACP include the following:

  • Qualification at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines; guideline is based on your household size and state of residence
  • Qualification for the Lifeline program or Medicaid, receive SNAP or WIC benefits, federal public housing assistance or veterans and survivors pension benefits.
  • Residence on tribal land, and have at least one person in the household who participates in Bureau of Indian Affairs general assistance, tribally-administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Head Start (only those households meeting its income qualifying standard), or the food distribution program on Indian reservations.

 "The pandemic continues to take a severe financial toll on many Oklahoma families," Voskuhl said. "It is important that folks take a close look at the new ACP program because some families who weren't eligible last year for the EBB program may be eligible now for the important broadband benefits provided by the ACP."  

Individuals enrolled in the EBB Program before 6 p.m. ET on December 30, 2021, will continue to receive their current monthly benefit (up to $50) during the 60-day transition period, which ends on March 1, 2022.

AARP encourages all Americans who are without access to high-speed internet or struggling to afford it to learn more about the ACP today:

  • Visit aarp.org/ACP for more information
  • Call: 833-511-0311 (toll-free)
  • Text INTERNET to 22777

 
More information on the state of broadband connectivity in Oklahoma:

Oklahoma ranks 47th in the nation for broadband connectivity, highlighting the need for ACP resources. According to a recent AARP survey, voters age 50-plus overwhelmingly agree that Oklahoma elected officials should expand their efforts to ensure that high-speed internet is available to all Oklahomans, especially those in rural parts of the state.  Some voters, especially those in rural areas, report that access to high-speed internet is a problem in their local communities and that quality, cost, and/or availability have limited their home internet use. To learn more about this survey, click HERE.

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