Cable companies effectively offer free Internet to low-income homes

Vice President Kamala Harris at a High Speed ​​Internet Access event.

Kent Nishimura | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

The Biden administration said it has secured the commitment of 20 Internet service providers to reduce prices or increase speed to serve low-income families, according to a White House. Press release posted Monday.

The news means that tens of millions of families could receive free high-speed Internet, according to the White House. Low-income families who qualify for the Congress-approved Affordable Connectivity Program can receive $ 30 per month off their Internet bills. Since the 20 ISPs who have made a commitment to the White House have agreed to offer high-speed Internet plans to ACP families for an amount no greater than that amount, ACP participants can effectively receive the Internet service for free.

The White House said the pledges come from companies including AT&T, Verizon Other Comcast (parent company of the CNBC owner NBCUniversal). In total, participating ISPs offer high-speed Internet in places where over 80% of the US population and nearly 50% of the rural population live.

The commitments ensure that these providers offer high-speed Internet to families who qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program for up to $ 30 per month. A high-speed plan, according to the White House, should offer download speeds of at least 100 megabits per second wherever the ISP’s infrastructure is able to do so.

As part of the program, Verizon lowered the cost of the Fios service from $ 39.99 per month to $ 30 per month to offer upload and download speeds of at least 200 megabits per second, the White House said. Spectrum doubled the speed of its plan from $ 30 per month from 50 to 100 Megabits per second for ACP participants, he added.

The administration also launched GetInternet.gov to guide consumers on how to join ACP and find local suppliers who are part of the program. It also plans to reach qualified families through other federal aid programs they may receive, such as Pell Grants or Medicaid.

Disclosure: Comcast owns CNBC’s parent company NBCUniversal.

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