WILMINGTON, Del. ( Associated Press) — The administration of President Joe Biden announced Monday that 20 internet companies have agreed to offer discounted service to low-income people, a program that could make tens of millions of of households are entitled to free service through an existing federal subsidy.
The $1 trillion infrastructure package passed by Congress last year includes $14.2 billion in funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program, which provides grants of $30 per month ($75 in tribal areas) on Internet service for millions of low-income households.
With the new commitment from internet providers, about 48 million households will be eligible for $30 monthly plans for 100 megabits per second, or higher speed, with which internet service will be fully paid for with the government subsidy if they contract with one of the suppliers that participate in the program.
During his presidential bid and in pushing the infrastructure bill, Biden made expanding high-speed internet access in rural and low-income areas a priority. The president has repeatedly spoken out about low-income families who struggled to find a reliable Wi-Fi connection so their children could participate in remote schooling and complete their homework early in the coronavirus pandemic.
“If we didn’t know before, we know now: High-speed internet is essential,” the Democratic president said during a White House event last month honoring the National Teacher of the Year.