President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have announced that new subsidies for high-speed Internet connections will be provided to economically vulnerable households as part of the administration’s ongoing commitment to bridging the digital divide plaguing underserved communities in the United States.
Discussing the details of the accessible connection program, Harris confirmed that if a household member receives benefits under SNAP, Medicaid, discounted school lunches, or other federal subsidies, the household is eligible for a discount on its monthly Internet bill.
Such attributes apply to approximately 40 percent of American households. Qualified homes will receive a monthly deduction of $ 30 from the cost of Internet bills, with homes located in tribal lands eligible for a $ 75 discount.
“Today, more than 30 million people in our country do not have access to high-speed Internet, either because they live in communities where high-speed Internet is not easily accessible, or more often because they cannot afford the price of a plan,” Harris said. “In the 21st century. Internet access is essential for success. Everyone in our nation, no matter how much they earn, must be able to afford high-speed internet and high-speed internet plan.
Other qualifying conditions include federal household income doubling the federal wage for poverty or less, which means approximately $ 55,000 per year for a family of four or $ 27,000 in a single household.
High-speed Internet access became a focal point on Biden’s federal agenda as the COVID-19 pandemic shifted training and work to remote online status. The lack of shared Internet capabilities across the country has prevented some people from gaining access to vital online resources.
Biden highlighted the collaboration between Republicans, Democrats and private sector companies in ACP development.
“High-speed internet is no longer a luxury. That’s a necessity, “Biden said. He and Harris mentioned previous federal investments in broadband development, in particular $ 65 billion, distributed across the country through the two-party infrastructure law.
ACP is working to support previous legislative initiatives to expand broadband by offering support for homes that cannot afford the internet service, even if the infrastructure is available.
“Too many families today just can’t afford to connect, even if they have access to connect,” Biden added. “In the last few months, my administration has been working closely with ISPs. This is a case of activating big business [sic]urging them to lower their prices and increase their speed. “
Twenty private ISPs have pledged to work with the government on a $ 30 federal loan, including AT&T, Spectrum, Verizon, Frontier and Comcast. Biden noted that ACP reforms and other Internet connectivity reforms will also encourage competition between telecoms companies and prevent companies from monopolizing in certain geographical areas.
According to Biden, about 11.5 million American families have already enrolled in the ACP.
Other technology programs proposed by the Biden administration, including federal initiatives for cybersecurity and 5G deployment, depend on public-private partnerships.