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Biden Talks Free Internet Service for Low-Income Households After Deal With AT&T And Other ISPs: ‘This Is A Case Where Big Businesses Have Risen’

President Joe Biden highlighted Monday how his administration got 20 Internet service providers to agree to offer eligible US households high-speed Internet plans costing $30 a month or less.

Biden also spoke about a new affordable connectivity program that offers eligible households $30 monthly broadband internet subsidies as he continues to be blamed for high inflation and faces low approval ratings.

The combination of the two initiatives should make Internet service free for millions of families.

People will “get ahead for nothing,” Biden said.

“This is a case where big companies have risen,” he added. “I try to get others to do the same with inflation. But these guys are the best.”

The $14.2 billion Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), stemming from last year’s $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, is a replacement for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, which provides subsidies in offered at a rate of US$50 per month.

Continue reading: The $65 billion Internet infrastructure plan could be an “Eisenhower National Highway System for the information age,” but it still has miles to go

Approximately 48 million households — or nearly 40% of US households — qualify according to a White House press release. That’s because their income is either at least twice the federal poverty line or because they qualify for a federal assistance program like Medicaid.

The White House said administration officials had “received commitments from 20 leading ISPs — covering more than 80% of the U.S. population in urban, suburban and rural areas — to either increase speeds or lower prices to ensure they can.” all AKP-eligible offer high-quality, high-speed Internet plans to households for no more than $30/month.”

AT&TT,
+1.38%,
Comcast CMCSA,
+1.17%,
border FYBR,
+1.56%
and Verizon VZ,
+1.50%
belong to these 20 ISPs.

The ACP hit an early hurdle because the people who need it most are the hardest to reach because they’re not online, a Wall Street Journal report said at the weekend. So far, only around 11 million Americans have signed up for the monthly subsidy.

“There’s about 30 million additional people who are eligible for this plan to basically get free internet and good internet,” Biden said. “We want each and every one of you, every one of you, to take the opportunity and lower your internet costs.”

Americans should find out if they are eligible by going to a government website GetInternet.govor call 877-384-2575, the president said.

Biden continues to highlight his efforts to fight inflation, while analysts are predicting defeats for his Democratic Party in November’s midterm elections if high prices continue.

“We will continue to work to fight inflation and bring down the cost of many other things for all American families as well,” he said.

Related: Biden will drag the opposition with Republicans on inflation on Tuesday as the CPI report looms

“Comcast is committed to making ACP available to all of our eligible Internet customers, and our new, more powerful Internet Essentials Plus offering is free to all who qualify,” said David N. Watson, CEO and President of Comcast Cable, in an explanation.

AT&T CEO John Stankey said similarly, “Our AT&T Access plan, combined with state ACP benefits, offers up to 100 Mbps of free Internet service to eligible households.”

This report was first published on May 9, 2022.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/biden-to-talk-up-free-internet-service-for-low-income-households-after-deal-with-at-t-comcast-other-isps-11652111981?rss=1&siteid=rss Biden Talks Free Internet Service for Low-Income Households After Deal With AT&T And Other ISPs: ‘This Is A Case Where Big Businesses Have Risen’

Brian Lowry

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