Saturday, September 23, 2023

Internet providers would reduce fees for low-income people: White House

The Biden administration said on Monday that 20 internet companies have agreed to offer low-income Americans cheap access, programmethat may essentially make tens of millions of homes eligible for free service through an already existing federal subsidy.
The Affordable Connectivity Program, which gives $30 monthly subsidies ($75 in tribal areas) on internet connection for millions of lower-income households, was included
in the $1 trillion infrastructure package agreed by Congress last year.
With the new promise from the internet providers, an estimated 48 million homes will be eligible for $30 monthly plans with speeds of 100 megabits per second or higher, making internet access totally subsidised if they join up with one of the participating providers.

During his presidential campaign and the drive for the infrastructure package, Biden prioritised boosting high-speed internet connectivity in rural and low-income regions. He’s spoken out several times about low-income families struggling to locate stable wi-fi so their children could participate in remote learning and do homework assignments early in the coronavirus outbreak.

“If we didn’t know it before, we know it now: high-speed internet is important,” Obama said at a White House event honouring the National Teacher of the Year last month.

According to the White House, the 20 internet firms that have agreed to decrease their rates for eligible customers provide access in areas where 80 percent of the US population lives, including 50 percent of the rural population. Participating companies who provide service on tribal lands give $75 prices in specific locations, which is the equivalent of a federal government subsidy.

On Monday, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were scheduled to meet with telecom CEOs, members of Congress, and others to discuss efforts to enhance low-income households’ access to high-speed internet.

Allo Communications, AltaFiber (and Hawaiian Telecom), Altice USA (Optimum and Suddenlink), Astound, AT&T, Breezeline, Comcast, Comporium, Frontier, IdeaTek, Cox Communications, Jackson Energy Authority, MediaCom, MLGC, Spectrum (Charter Communications), Starry, Verizon (Fios only), Vermont Telephone Co., Vexus Fiber, and Wow! are among the providers. The Internet, Cable, and Television.

If an American household’s income is at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, or if a member of their family is enrolled in one of several programmes, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA), or Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit, they may be eligible for subsidies through the Affordable Connectivity Program.


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