The White House has announced deals struck with 20 internet service providers to offer cheaper broadband for tens of millions of Americans – with millions qualifying for a $30/month cap for unlimited data. The initiative was made possible by bipartisan support …

Background

Despite competition, the US is one of the most expensive countries in the world when it comes to broadband. It is, for example, almost twice as expensive as the UK on a like-for-like package.

That’s not great for anyone, but is especially problematic for those families who most struggle to pay the bills. Most job applications, for example, are only available online, as well as a vast range of educational resources than can help people lift themselves out of poverty.

So much so that the White House last year described broadband as “the new electricity” in terms of its importance to everyday life, announcing plans to make it affordable to all. Republicans agreed, resulting in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Cheaper broadband for tens of millions

The White House made the announcement today.

As part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the President and Vice President worked with Democrats and Republicans to create the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which allows tens of millions of American households to reduce their internet service costs by up to $30/month (or $75/month on Tribal lands).

To ensure the most efficient use of those public dollars and to deliver maximum cost savings to families, the Biden-Harris Administration has secured commitments from 20 leading internet providers—covering more than 80% of the U.S. population across urban, suburban, and rural areas—to either increase speeds or cut prices, making sure they all offer ACP-eligible households high-speed, high-quality internet plans for no more than $30/month.

From large providers like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon serving dozens of states, to smaller providers serving rural areas like Jackson Energy Authority in Tennessee and Comporium in North Carolina, the commitments will allow tens of millions of ACP-eligible households to receive high-speed internet at no cost.

Do you qualify for cheaper broadband?

Some 48 million households – almost 40% of total US households – qualify.

The program is designed to target help where it is most needed: those whose household income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level; or already qualify for an ISP’s existing low-income program; or who qualifies for one of the following programs:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps
  • Medicaid
  • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
  • Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
  • Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program, including at U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Community Eligibility Provision schools
  • Federal Pell Grant (received in the current award year)
  • Lifeline
  • Certain Tribal assistance programs, including Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Head Start (only households meeting the income qualifying standard), Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF), and Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations

All will qualify for a discount of up to $30/month, and ISPs have agreed to provide realistic speed service (100Mbps minimum) starting from $30/month for eligible households, making it free for some. Part of the deal is that there will be no data caps or hidden fees on these packages.

Check out the full list of participating ISPs, with links to the application process, on the White House website.

Photo: Patricia Prudente/Unsplash

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.


Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel

About the Author

Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

Ben Lovejoy's favorite gear