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Vermonters Encouraged to Consider the Broadband Benefit Program

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Getting Connected: The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

If the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that access to high-speed internet is not a luxury; it’s a necessity.

Unfortunately, the high-speed internet too many Vermonters need is not available where they live, and this holds them back.

That’s why AARP fought for the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB), a temporary $3.2 billion Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program to help Americans access affordable, high-speed internet during the COVID-19 pandemic. The EBB program launches at the May 12 and will end once the funds have been depleted.

What is the benefit?

Under this short-term program, Vermonters 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.

Who qualifies for the benefit?

Many Vermont residents have experienced financial setbacks during the pandemic or are struggling to get by, which could qualify them for the program. The criteria set for the EBB include those who:

· 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.

How to apply

Eligible households will enroll through participating broadband providers. AARP encourages Vermonters who are without access to high-speed internet, or struggling to afford it, to look into the EBB program.

For more information about EBB, visit aarp.org/EBB, text INTERNET to 22777 or call 1-800-891-7425.

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