AARP Iowa Encourages Residents to Participate in Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

posted 5/26/2021 in Press Releases

Des Moines - AARP Iowa today encouraged residents of all ages 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.

“The pandemic has shown our reliance on high-speed internet,” said AARP Iowa State Director Brad Anderson. “But too many Iowans are being left behind. 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.”

“According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, 16% of Iowans in poverty do not have access to the internet. Iowa Community Action Association is proud to stand with AARP to help increase access to service and to drive down costs, in particular for low-income Iowans,” said Katherine Riley Harrington, Executive Director for Iowa Community Action Association. “Internet access is an essential service; and, with more and more basic service delivery occurring over broadband like healthcare, education, and work, it is imperative that all of our citizens get and stay connected." 

Under this short-term program, Iowa 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 Iowans 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,” said Anderson. “That is why AARP fought hard for the EBB Program at the federal level and, now in Iowa, we are elevating this opportunity to help Iowans afford high-speed internet, an important complement to the Governor’s signed allocation of $100 million to expand Iowans’ broadband access.”

“Iowa's aging network of Area Agencies on Aging supports programs and services that ensure affordable broadband for older Iowans to help reduce social isolation and increase access to services and supports that promote their independence,” said Joe Sample Executive Director

Iowa Association of Area Agencies on Aging.

For more information about EBB, visit aarp.org/EBB, text INTERNET to 22777 or call 1-833-511-0311, or for application information visit: getemergencybroadband.org/

About AARP

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARPIowa on social media.

Empowering you to age with confidence.