President Joe Biden, both during the election campaign and during his presidency, has made it a priority to expand high-speed Internet access in rural and low-income areas.
WASHINGTON – The Biden administration announced Monday that 20 Internet companies have agreed to provide low-income Americans with discounted services, a program that can effectively make tens of millions of households eligible for free services through an existing federal subsidy.
Infrastructure package for 1 trillion passed by Congress last year, included $ 14.2 billion in funding for an affordable connectivity program that provides monthly grants of $ 30 ($ 75 in tribal areas) for online services to millions of low-income families.
Thanks to new commitments from ISPs, about 48 million households will be eligible for monthly plans of $ 30 per service at 100 megabits per second or faster, making the Internet service fully paid for by a government subsidy if they subscribe to one of the providers participating in the program.
Biden during his tenure in the White House and the promotion of the infrastructure bill made it a priority to expand high-speed Internet access in rural and low-income areas. He repeatedly spoke of low-income families who found it difficult to find reliable Wi-Fi so that their children could participate in distance learning and do homework in the beginning coronavirus pandemic.
“If we didn’t know that before, now we know that high-speed Internet is necessary,” the Democratic president said during a White House event last month. National Teacher of the Year.
20 online companies that have agreed to cut tariffs for eligible consumers are providing services in areas where 80% of the U.S. population lives, including 50% of the rural population, the White House said. Participating companies offering services on tribal lands provide rates of $ 75 in these areas, equivalent to federal government subsidies in these areas.
Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were scheduled to meet Monday with telecoms executives, members of Congress and others to highlight efforts to improve access to high-speed Internet for low-income families.
Suppliers 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 television.
American families are eligible for subsidies under the Affordable Connection Program if their income is 200% of the federal poverty level or below, or if a member of their family participates in one of several programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program ( SNAP), Federal State Housing Assistance (FPHA) and Veterans Pension and Survivor’s Allowance.