The Biden Administration unveiled its plan Monday to increase the availability of low-cost, high-speed internet for families across the country.
The government secured agreements with 20 internet service providers to reduce monthly service costs by up to $30 a month (or $75 a month on Tribal lands). About 48 million households—40% of the U.S.—qualify.
Participating companies include AT&T, Comcast/Xfinity and Spectrum, among others. It’s called the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and is part of bipartisan infrastructure legislation passed last year.
The White House launched a website with information about eligibility requirements and the application process.
Households qualify if their income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty level or if a member of the household meets one of the following criteria:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps
- Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
- Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
- Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program, including at U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Community Eligibility Provision schools
- Federal Pell Grant (received in the current award year)
- Certain Tribal assistance programs, including Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Head Start (only households meeting the income qualifying standard), Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF), and Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
Households can also qualify if they meet eligibility criteria for a participating broadband provider’s existing low-income internet program. About 11.5 million households have already signed up to receive ACP benefits, the White House said.
Under the terms of the ACP, eligible households that opt in will receive a discount of up to $30 a month on internet service from a participating provider.
Twenty companies have agreed to offer ACP-eligible households a high-speed internet plan for no more than $30 a month. The administration defines “high-speed internet” as at least 100 Megabits per second (Mbps) in places where the provider’s infrastructure is capable of those speeds.
“That’s fast enough for a typical family of four to work from home, do schoolwork, browse the web, and stream high-definition shows and movies,” the administration noted.
Providers have been asked to offer plans without fees or data caps.
The administration pointed to Verizon as one example. The company lowered the price for its Fios service from $39.99 a month to $30 a month for a plan offering speeds of at least 200 Mbps per second. Spectrum, meantime, doubled the speed of its $30 a month plan from 50 Mbps to 100 Mbps for ACP participants.
Here are the participating providers:
- Allo Communications
- AltaFiber (and Hawaiian Telecom)
- Altice USA (Optimum and Suddenlink)
- Cox Communications
- Jackson Energy Authority
- Spectrum (Charter Communications
- Verizon (Fios only)
- Vermont Telephone Company
- Vexus Fiber
- Wow! Internet, Cable, and TV
To learn more about eligibility and apply for the program, visit this website.