The Biden administration is rolling out private sector commitments for an effort it says could lower the cost of high-speed internet for 40% of the households in the country.
The Affordable Connectivity Program, a provision of the 2021 infrastructure law, is set to cut internet costs by up to $30 per month for eligible participants; savings on Tribal lands can be as high as $75 per month. The program will be available to customers of 20 internet providers that cover about 80% of the total U.S. population and about half the country’s rural residents.
“Now, families who are eligible can select a plan from a participating provider and receive high-speed internet at no cost in most cases,” President Joe Biden said in a White House event Monday.
The infrastructure bill included some $65 billion in funding for broadband expansion efforts; ACP, a replacement of the COVID-era Emergency Broadband Benefit program, is expected to cost about $14.2 billion.
Eligibility will be determined by current participation in several government programs, including Agriculture Department efforts like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, and free and reduced-price school lunches. Those with household incomes at or below 200% of the federal poverty level ($55,500 for a family of four) also qualify.
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According to the White House, an estimated 48 million households will be eligible for the program. The program is open to new or existing customers of participating companies.
A White House fact sheet lists 20 companies with an eligible plan, including telecommunications heavy hitters like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast.
The program also allows eligible recipients to receive a one-time $100 discount on a computer or tablet.For more news, go towww.Agri-Pulse.com.