Content starts here
CLOSE ×
Search
AARP AARP States West Virginia Technology

Emergency Broadband Benefit Program Can Help West Virginians Connect With High-Speed Internet Access

AARP West Virginia is encouraging Mountain State residents who are without access to high-speed internet, or struggling to afford it, 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. 

Laptop

“The pandemic has shown our reliance on high-speed internet,” said Gaylene Miller, AARP West Virginia State Director. “But too many West Virginians are being left behind, with more than one-third of our rural communities unserved and lacking high-speed internet access. Patients navigating telehealth, students learning remotely, and loved ones staying connected with family members by video chat are only a few of the critical tasks that require a high-speed connection.” 

Under this short-term program, West Virginians may be eligible for a discount on their high-speed internet service of up to $50/month discount for high-speed internet services, and a one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop computer or tablet purchased through a participating provider.

This past year, many West Virginians 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. 

“Helping older adults get and stay connected to high-speed internet is a key area of focus for AARP,” said AARP West Virginia State President Jane Marks. “That is why AARP fought hard for the EBB Program at the federal level, and to support continued broadband development here in West Virginia.” 

At the State Capitol, AARP West Virginia actively worked with legislative leaders to ensure the broadband vision and roadmap outlined as a top legislative priority for the 2021 regular session were addressed in the critical next steps forward. House Bill 2002, supporting high-speed internet expansion, incorporates the critical goal of digital equity in the responsibilities for the newly established Office of Broadband, and ensures mapping and data collection accurately reflect speed and cost of service by community and best support the widespread adoption of broadband. The AARP-supported legislation also includes accountability measures related to the use of state and federal funds to ensure we avoid mistakes of the past and maximize every dollar in connecting high-speed internet to homes and businesses.

Eligible households will enroll through participating broadband providers. For more information about EBB, visit aarp.org/EBB, text INTERNET to 22777 or call 1-833-511-0311. 

-----------------------------------------------------------------
AARP WV Media Contact: Tom Hunter, 304-340-4605, tphunter@aarp.org

About AARP West Virginia
Contact information and more from your state office. Learn what we are doing to champion social change and help you live your best life.