US President Joe Biden's administration on Monday unveiled new deals to lower internet costs for millions of Americans, the White House announced.
"High-speed internet service is no longer a luxury—it’s a necessity. But too many families go without high-speed internet because of the cost or have to cut back on other essentials to make their monthly internet service payments," the White House said in a statement.
The bipartisan Infrastructure Law aims to create the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which will reduce the internet service costs of millions by up to $30 per month, or $75 a month on Tribal lands.
The administration said it has secured commitments from 20 leading American internet providers, such as ATamp;T, Comcast and Verizon, which cover over 80% of the US population across urban, suburban, and rural areas, to either increase speeds or cut prices, and make sure they all offer ACP-eligible plans for no more than $30 per month.
Eligible households will be able to sign up and get details on "GetInternet.gov" about ACP and find participating internet providers in their respective areas.
While the US Social Security Administration will email all 1.6 million recipients to inform their eligibility for ACP, households will qualify for ACP based on their income or through their participation federal programs such as Medicaid.
In addition, some US states will text millions of eligible households, while public interest organizations will conduct direct enrollment and outreach.
Around 48 million households, or nearly 40%, are estimated to qualify for the ACP because of their income standing below 200% of the federal poverty level, according to the statement.
"As of now, more than 1,300 internet service providers participate in the program, and more than 11.5 million households have signed up to receive the ACP benefit," it said.
Biden in November 2021 signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law, which includes investing $65 billion to provide high speed and affordable internet access to public.