New program offers free internet service to 48 million households; see if you qualify

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A new program launched by the Biden administration provides free internet service to some 48 million homes in America.

President Biden announced last week that 20 internet companies have agreed to provide discounted service — $30 a month — to low-income people. Under the Affordable Connectivity Program, eligible Americans can receive monthly subsidies of $30, making internet service fully paid for with government assistance if they sign up with one of the participating providers.

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The 20 internet companies that have agreed to lower their prices provide services in areas where 80% of the US population lives, including 50% of the rural population, according to the White House. Participating companies that provide service on tribal lands offer rates of $75 in those areas, the equivalent of the federal government subsidy.

Families of four earning approximately $55,000 per year are eligible. About 40% of Americans will qualify, Biden said.

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What is the Affordable Connectivity Program?

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The $1 trillion infrastructure package passed by Congress last year included $14.2 billion in funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program. It provides monthly subsidies of $30 ($75 in tribal areas) on Internet service to millions of low-income households.

What are the participating internet companies?

The 20 suppliers are:

  • Hello Communications
  • AltaFiber (and Hawaiian Telecom)
  • Altice USA (Optimum and Suddenlink)
  • amaze
  • AT&T
  • breezeline
  • Comcast
  • Comporium
  • Frontier
  • IdeaTek
  • Cox Communications
  • Jackson Energy Authority
  • MediaCom
  • MLGC
  • Spectrum (chartered communications)
  • Star
  • Verizon (Fios only)
  • Vermont Telephone Co.
  • Vexus Fiber
  • Wow! Internet, cable and television.
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How to register

The White House has set up a website for people to see if they are eligible. If the website indicates that you are eligible, you can apply for the benefit by mail or by contacting your existing Internet service provider if they participate in the program.

You can learn more about how to apply on the Affordable Connectivity Program website. You can also call 877-384-2575.

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