A relationship-driven approach
EAB’s approach is human-focused and responsive. In a Broadband world that is otherwise DIY, EAB matches each consumer to supportive staff trained in subsidy registration and the power of the EAB web tool. With member CUDs, we smooth the process of qualifying and connecting consumers to rural Broadband and track the results to completion.
EAB relies on partnerships with community organizations that have already built trusting and supportive relationships with eligible households. Key partners refer potentially eligible families to EAB to help them access essential services like education and healthcare. EAB and its community partners can help subsidy-eligible consumers evaluate the question: “Does my household need this resource and expense?”
Why does equitable access depend on EAB?
Connecting to Broadband, especially for you are a family eligible for a financial subsidy, requires tenacity, creativity, flexibility, and sometimes, a thick skin. The process for connection is standardized on the internet, through a "do it yourself" portal. But consumers in households with lower incomes often face unique challenges that require specific, customized support.
These households may be invisible in the community, often have limited access to the internet and limited data plans on mobile phones. Sometimes eligible households cannot afford landline telephones. And even when they do everything right, the challenge and complexity of qualifying for support is prone to bureaucratic and technical errors, which means that the process becomes complex -- to the point of being insurmountable. Even eligible families may be denied subsidies and services.
The process can also be challenging for internet services providers, especially small organizations like CUDs. Even those companies willing to connect consumers to lower-cost service may not justify the expense of specially trained employees to seek eligible consumers and make a personal connection, to build community collaboration, and to spend the extra time required to register eligible consumers for federal benefits.