US President Joe Biden ties up with Internet companies to lower prices for low-income Americans

US President Joe Biden’s administration announced on Monday that 20 Internet companies have agreed to provide subsidized service to low-income Americans, a program that aims to provide free service to millions of families through already existing federal subsidies. can effectively qualify.

The $1 trillion (about Rs 77,37,100 crore) infrastructure package passed by Congress last year included funding for $14.2 billion (Rs 1,09,900 crore). Affordable Connectivity ProgramWhich provides a $30 (about Rs 2,300) monthly subsidy ($75 – about Rs 5,800 – in tribal areas) on Internet service for millions of low-income families.

With the new commitment from Internet providers, some 48 million households will be eligible for 100 megabit per second, or higher speed, service for monthly plans of $30 (about Rs 2,300) – internet service paid in full with government subsidies. If they sign up with one of the providers participating in the program.

Biden prioritized high-speed Internet access in rural and low-income areas during his White House run and pushed for an infrastructure bill. He has spoken repeatedly about low-income families struggling to find reliable Wi-Fi so their children could attend distance schooling and complete homework early in the coronavirus pandemic.

“If we didn’t know it before, we know it now: High-speed Internet necessary,” the Democratic president said last month during a White House event honoring the National Teacher of the Year.

According to the White House, 20 Internet companies that have agreed to reduce their rates for eligible consumers provide service in areas where 80 percent of the US population lives, including 50 percent of the rural population. Participating companies that provide service on tribal lands are providing rates of $75 (about Rs 5,800), the equivalent of federal government subsidies in those areas.

Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were due to meet with telecom executives, members of Congress and others on Monday to highlight efforts to improve access to high-speed Internet for low-income families.

Providers are Allo Communications, AltaFiber (and Hawaii 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 Company, Vexus Fiber and Wow! Internet, cable and TV.

American households are eligible for subsidies through the Affordable Connectivity Program if their income is at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, or if a family member participates in one of several programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Is. Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA) and Veterans Pension and Survivor Benefits.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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