In an effort by the Biden administration, 20 internet companies have committed to significantly reducing their service price for low-income households — this commitment combined with an already existing federal subsidy will give millions of Americans access to free internet plans, ABC News reports.
Per Monday's (May 9) White House announcement, 48 million households will soon have access to $30 monthly plans from internet providers that have agreed to provide discounted services. With the $30 monthly internet subsidy provided by the federal government through the Affordable Connectivity Program, all of these households could now have their internet service fully paid for.
According to the White House, 20 internet companies joined a new program to provide reduced rates in lower-income areas where 80 percent of the U.S. population lives, including 50 percent of the rural population. The participating providers include Comcast, AT&T, Verizon (Fios only), Cox Communications, Frontier, Spectrum, and more.
Last year, President Joe Biden, successfully backed a $1 trillion infrastructure package that passed through Congress and provided the Affordable Connectivity Program with $14.2 billion in funding. The current administration made expanding high-speed internet access in rural and low-income areas a priority as children struggled with remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, ABC News reports.
Americans have access to the $30 monthly internet subsidy through the Affordable Connectivity Program if their income is at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level or if they participate in programs including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA) and Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit.
On Monday, the president and VP Kamala Harris are expected to meet with telecom executives, members of Congress, and more to highlight the administration's effort to increase internet access for low-income Americans.
Biden said in a statement last month, “If we didn’t know it before, we know now: High-speed internet is essential.”