(WXIN) — The Biden administration on Monday unveiled its plan to expand the availability of low-cost, high-speed internet for families across the country.
The government has entered into agreements with 20 Internet service providers to reduce monthly service costs by up to $30 per month (or $75 per month in tribal lands). About 48 million households, or 40% of the United States, are eligible.
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 has launched a website with information on eligibility requirements and the application process.
Households are eligible if their income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty level or if a household member meets one of the following criteria:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps
- Medical help
- Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
- Veterans pension and survivors benefits
- Free and Discounted School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program, including at United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Community Eligibility Provision schools
- Federal Pell Grant (received in current year)
- safety rope
- Some Tribal Assistance programs, including Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Head Start (only households meeting the income qualification standard), Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF), and the food distribution program on Indian reservations
Households may also be eligible if they meet the existing low-income Internet program eligibility criteria of a participating broadband provider. About 11.5 million households have already registered to receive ACP benefits, the White House said.
Under the terms of the CPA, eligible households who sign up will receive a rebate of up to $30 per month on internet service from a participating provider.
Twenty companies have agreed to offer CPA-eligible households a high-speed internet package for up to $30 per month. The administration defines “broadband Internet” as at least 100 megabits per second (Mbps) in locations 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 homework, browse the web, and stream shows and movies in high definition,” the administration noted.
Providers were asked to offer plans with no fees or data caps.
The administration cited Verizon as an example. The company has dropped the price of its Fios service from $39.99 per month to $30 per month for a plan offering speeds of at least 200 Mbps per second. Spectrum, meanwhile, has doubled the speed of its $30 per month plan from 50 Mbps to 100 Mbps for ACP participants.
Here are the participating providers:
To learn more about eligibility and to apply for the program, visit this website.