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Cementing internet access as a priority for his administration, 20 internet companies have agreed to provide discounted services to people with low incomes, President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris announced on Monday.
Under the collaboration, over 48 million households will be eligible for $30 monthly plans for 100 megabits per second, according to a White House fact sheet.
“High-speed internet service is no longer a luxury—it’s a necessity. But too many families go without high-speed internet because of the cost or have to cut back on other essentials to make their monthly internet service payments,” the U.S. leaders said in a statement.
Biden administration moves to make high-speed internet more available.
The announcement comes after the Biden administration already passed a program to increase accessibility inside the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed last year. The Affordable Connectivity Program created $30 monthly subsidies for lower-income people ($75 in tribal areas). Essentially, Monday’s announcement means for millions of Americans the cost of internet will be free for those who sign up with one of the internet providers participating in the program.
The providers include Allo Communications, AltaFiber (and Hawaiian Telecom), Altice USA (Optimum and Suddenlink), Astound, AT&T, Breezeline, Comcast, Comporium, Frontier, IdeaTek, Cox Communications, Jackson Energy Authority, MediaCom, MLGC, Spectrum (Charter Communications), Starry, Verizon (Fios only), Vermont Telephone Co., Vexus Fiber and Wow! Internet, Cable, and TV.
To be eligible for the program, household income must be at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. A household may also be eligible if a member participates in SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), Federal Public Housing, Veterans Pension, Survivors Benefit or another assistance program.
“The Biden-Harris Administration is grateful for the efforts of these companies, and encourages additional internet service providers to join this effort to close the digital divide by offering high-speed, low-cost plans.”