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Biden announces internet discounts for low-income families

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The Biden administration announced May 9 that 20 internet companies have agreed to provide discounted service to low-income Americans under a program that could make tens of millions of households eligible for free service.

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President Joe Biden’s administration says 20 internet service providers have agreed to cut high-speed internet costs for tens of millions of people in the United States.

On May 9, the Biden administration announced that tens of millions of Americans are eligible to have their internet costs reduced by up to $30 per month through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), created under the law. bipartisan on infrastructure.

“High-speed Internet service is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity,” the White House said in a press release. “But too many families are going without high-speed internet because of the cost or having to cut back on other essentials to meet their monthly internet service payments.”

The Biden administration says 20 internet providers covering more than 80% of the US population “in urban, suburban and rural areas” have pledged to either increase the speed of their internet services or reduce their prices to offer “ACP-eligible households fast, high-quality internet packages for no more than $30/month” with no fees or data caps.

Families living on tribal land are eligible for a discount of up to $75 per month.

All 20 service providers, such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon, already offer high-speed internet plans for $30 a month or less — meaning if eligible households apply their ACP benefit to any of those plans, they will have “no internet pocket off-costs,” according to the White House.

As of May 9, about 1,300 total internet service providers are participating in the program, including some of the largest providers as well as local providers covering rural areas, according to the White House. Eligible households can also choose to apply their ACP benefits to any of their plans.

The White House said more than 11.5 million people in the United States have signed up for the program, and it estimates that 48 million households – about 40% of American households – could be eligible for CPA.

Households are eligible for the benefit if they earn 200% of federal poverty guidelines or less, if they “meet the eligibility criteria for a participating broadband provider’s existing low-income internet program ” or if a member of the household participates in one of these eligible programs. programs, according to the White House:

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Medical help

Special supplementary nutrition program for women, infants and children

Supplemental Security Income

Federal assistance for public housing

Veterans pension and survivors benefits

A free or reduced school meals program

Federal Pell Grant

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“Certain Tribal Assistance Programs”

The Biden administration has defined a broadband internet plan as “a plan that provides download speeds of at least 100 megabits per second wherever the provider’s infrastructure is capable of it.”

“That’s fast enough for a typical family of four to work from home, do homework, browse the web, and stream shows and movies in high definition,” White House officials said.

Federal agencies such as the Social Security Administration and Medicaid, as well as states and cities and public benefit organizations such as Goodwill and United Way will contact eligible households, according to the statement.

This story was originally published May 9, 2022 9:19 a.m.

Cassandre Coyer is a McClatchy national real-time reporter covering the Southeast while based in Washington DC. She is an alumnus of Emerson College in Boston and joined McClatchy in 2022. Previously she has written for The Christian Science Monitor, RVA Mag, The Untitled Magazine and Suite.