INDIANAPOLIS — With more schools turning to remote classes instead of snow days, some Indianapolis families are being left out in the cold. However, AT&T is now offering a free internet option to bridge the digital divide.
On Monday, AT&T announced a new plan that would provide free internet to eligible households. The option is made possible by combining the Access from AT&T program with the Affordable Connectivity Program.
Data from the American Community Survey shows around 20% of Marion County residents are without an internet subscription. This is higher than the national average of 17%.
Internet access is one of Governor Eric Holcomb’s priorities for Indiana in 2022. Holcomb broadband access is essential in attracting remote workers to Indiana. The governor’s office wants to focus capital projects, in part, on broadband.
Within Marion County, there are areas that have as many as 68.4% of households without internet access. This includes Census Tract 3523, within Indianapolis’ Arlington Woods neighborhood. Of the households without internet access, more than two-thirds have an annual income of less than $35,000.
Under the Affordable Connectivity Program, most of those households would be eligible for the free internet, as long as they have 3 or more people in the household. The program is available for households 200% or less than the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
|Household Size||48 Contiguous States, D.C., and Territories||Alaska||Hawaii|
|For each additional person, add:||$9,080||$11,360||$10,440|
Other households may be eligible if they participate in other government assistance programs such as SNAP or Medicaid. If a child participates in the Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program or is enrolled in a USDA Community Eligibility Provision school, the household qualifies for the ACP benefit.
If a household qualifies, they can get 100Mbps internet speeds with no data caps for $30 per month discounted to $0 per month under the program. This is about 4 times faster than the FTC’s definition of broadband service and is fast enough for online gaming or streaming HD content.
Households that qualify can take advantage of the program by applying for the Affordable Connectivity Program and calling 855-220-5211 after verifying eligibility.