Biden has started a program to provide discounted Internet service

Wilmington, Dell (AFP) – The Biden administration announced Monday that 20 Internet companies have agreed to offer a discounted service to people on low incomes, a program that could make tens of millions of families eligible for a free service through an existing federal program. financial support.

The $1 trillion infrastructure package That Congress passed last year included $14.2 billion in funding for the Affordable Connection Program, which provides $30 a month ($75 in FBT) Internet service to millions of low-income families.

With the new commitment from internet providers, about 48 million households will be eligible for $30 for 100Mbps monthly plans, or a higher speed service — making their internet service fully paid for through government subsidies if they sign up with one of the participating providers. in the program.

Biden, while running for the White House and lobbying for an infrastructure bill, made expanding access to high-speed Internet in rural and low-income areas a priority. He has spoken repeatedly of low-income families struggling to find reliable Wi-Fi, so their children can participate in remote education and complete their homework early. coronavirus pandemic.

The Democratic president said during an event at the White House last month to honor National Teacher of the Year.

The 20 Internet companies that have agreed to lower their prices to eligible consumers offer service in areas where 80% of the US population lives, including 50% of the rural population, according to the White House. Participating companies that provide services on tribal lands pay $75 in those areas, the equivalent of federal government support in those areas.

Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are scheduled to meet on Monday with communications executives, members of Congress and others to highlight efforts to improve high-speed Internet access for low-income families.

Providers are 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 and Spectrum (Charter Communications) Starry, Verizon (Fios only), Vermont Telephone Co. and Vexus Fiber and Wow! Internet, cable and television.

American families are eligible for benefits through the Affordable Delivery Program if their income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty level, or if their family member participates in one of several programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), federal assistance For Public Housing (FPHA), Veterans’ Pensions, and Survivors’ Benefits.