Free Internet in the US? Joe Biden to Tout Plan Offering Net to Millions of Homes
Twenty U.S. internet providers have agreed to offer high-speed connections at essentially no cost to millions of low-income households, as part of a program funded by the infrastructure law passed last year.
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will announce Monday that 20 companies, including AT&T Inc., Comcast Corp. and Verizon Communications Inc., have agreed to offer high-speed plans that are essentially free to eligible recipients, U.S. administration officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of the announcement.
About 11.5 million households are already enrolled in the Affordable Connectivity Program, out of the 48 million that are eligible. Under the program, recipients get discounts of up to $30 a month.
The 20 companies have agreed to provide plans for that figure -- meaning households incur no cost after the rebate -- at a speed of at least 100 megabits per second. Some are dropping the prices of existing plans, while others are raising the speed, the officials said.
The companies weren't offered anything, and won't receive additional government funding, to offer the plans, the officials said.
The U.S. government will launch a website, GetInternet.Gov, to allow people to find a qualifying plan, among other measures to increase the number of households that are participating. The 20 eligible providers cover about 80% of the U.S. population, the officials said.
Households qualify for the program by meeting an income threshold, or automatically if a member of the household participates in other federal programs, like Medicaid or Pell Grants. The 20 companies that signed up are a fraction of the more than 1,300 that are participating in the Affordable Connectivity Program.