The current administration announced on Monday 9th, May, that it had partnered with 20 internet firms to provide low-income American families with discounted services. In the deal, the web companies were required to either reduce the prices they charge or increase their internet speeds, according to a White House press release published on the same day. The program is set to make millions of families eligible for free service considering the already present federal subsidy.
Congress passed a $1 trillion infrastructure package last year, which included a $14.2 billion allocation for the Affordable Connectivity Program to provide $30 monthly subsidies and $75 in the country’s tribal areas on internet service for low-income households.
Internet Access is Critical in the Current Era
President Biden made the expansion of high-speed internet access in low-income and rural homes in America a priority in his presidential campaigns. The President has been vocal about the low-income families and rural homes that struggle every day to access reliable Wi-Fi so their children can participate in remote schooling programs and complete their assignments in time in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic and the work from home trend is merely one example of how important internet access is at this time. The world is largely digitizing. The digitization is present in institutions ranging from governments, to academia, to the corporate world.
These new shifts are making it to where individuals must have more knowledge, access to tools, and connect to more through the internet.
Internet access will be quite valuable as the digitization rapidly accelerates across the world.
Several Firms Are Participating in this Partnership
The 20 web companies in the new deal agreed to the rates charged among eligible households in regions where 80% of the country’s population resides, including half of the rural population. Companies chosen to offer the service in tribal areas will be offering $75 rates, the equivalent of the current federal subsidy.
The providers in the deal are AltaFiber, Allo Communications, Altice USA, AT$T, Astound, TV, Comcast, Cable, Breeseline, Internet, Comporium, Wow!, Frontier, Vexus Fiber, IdeaTek, Spectrum, Cox Communications, Vermont Telephone Co., MLGC, Jackson Energy Authority, and Starry.
The Affordable Connectivity Program
The households eligible for the subsidy through the Affordable Connectivity Program should show an income level below 200% of the federal poverty. Similarly, families whose members participate in any one of the programs, including Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit, Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, and Federal Public Housing Assistance, will be eligible for the subsidy.