Discounted Or Free Internet Is Coming To Low-Income Americans
Low-income Americans may soon have access to free internet service via a combination of existing government subsidies and a new program included in the Biden administration’s $1 trillion infrastructure package.
The package, which focused on a wide range of communications and infrastructure issues, provides low-income people with $30 (and more in tribal areas) per month to cover internet service. Dubbed the Affordable Connectivity Program, it will not be available for the entire country, but 20 internet service providers have agreed to support it. Providers supporting the program–effectively providing free 100Mbps+ internet service to those who qualify–include:
- Cox Communications
- Verizon FiOS
100Mbps is nothing to sneeze at, and in addition to its lower price, it should be a significant speed increase for many rural areas. A 50GB game, for instance, can be downloaded at that speed in just over an hour.
The program will cover areas where roughly 50% of the rural population and 80% of the total population live, though households will only qualify if they are making income equal to or below 200% of the federal poverty level or if a member participates in a service like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or Federal Public Housing Assistance. Other supported programs include the Free and Reduced-Price Lunch program, which should ensure low-income families with children will have internet access to complete schoolwork.
Many rural areas feature only a single internet service provider, resulting in increased prices due to a lack of competition, and this program should provide much lower bills for those who qualify. To sign up for the program, you can use the GetInternet.gov tool, and government agencies will also be contacting eligible households to inform them that they qualify.
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