WASHINGTON † A new program launched by the Biden administration provides free Internet services to approximately 48 million homes in America.
President Biden announced last week that 20 internet companies have agreed to offer the service at a discount — $30 a month — to low-income people. Under the Affordable Connectivity Program, eligible Americans can receive $30 monthly grants that pay for Internet service in full with government support when they sign up with one of the participating providers.
The 20 Internet companies that have agreed to lower their rates provide services in areas where 80% of the U.S. population, including 50% of the rural population, lives, according to the White House. Participating companies offering services on tribal lands offer a rate of $75 in those areas, the equivalent of the federal government’s subsidy.
Families of four earning approximately $55,000 annually are eligible. About 40% of Americans qualify, Biden said.
What is the Affordable Connectivity Program?
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – AUGUST 30: (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
The $1 trillion infrastructure package approved by Congress last year included $14.2 billion in funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program. It provides $30 monthly grants ($75 in tribal areas) on the Internet to millions of lower-income households.
Which internet companies are participating?
The 20 providers are:
- Hello Communication
- AltaFiber (and Hawaiian Telecom)
- Altice USA (Optimum and Suddenlink)
- Cox Communication
- Jackson Energy Authority
- Spectrum (Charter Communications)
- starry sky
- Verizon (Fios only)
- Vermont Phone Co.
- Vexus fiber
- Wow! Internet, cable and TV.
The White House has set up a website where people can see if they qualify. If the website says you qualify, you can apply for the benefit by mail – or by contacting your existing Internet service provider if they are participating in the program.
You can find more information about how to apply on the Affordable Connectivity Program website. You can also call 877-384-2575.