President Joe Biden’s administration reached Monday a deal with 20 U.S. internet service providers to provide free internet access to Americans living in low-income areas. “High speed internet at home is no longer a luxury: it’s a necessity for children to learn, workers to do their job, seniors and others to access health care through telemedicine, and for all of us to stay connected in this digital world,” a senior administration official told. AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and others will participate. The American Biden administration also announced a federal subsidy for low-income households that will pay up to $30 for internet access, effectively making the plan free for qualifying households. Americans can apply for access to the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) at a new government website that launched Monday. The White House says that 40% of the U.S. population, about 48 million households, will be eligible to sign up. Any household making less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Level, $55,500 for a family of four in the continental U.S., is eligible.
The plan allows for download speeds of 100 Megabits per second. “Internet for all requires the partnership of business and government, and we are pleased to be working with the Administration, Congress and FCC to ensure everyone has accessible, affordable and sustainable broadband service,” AT&T CEO John Stankey declared. 11.5 million households have signed up to receive ACP benefits.