Biden announces partnership with internet service providers to reduce costs for low-income households

“Over the past few months, my administration has been working closely with internet service providers. This is where the big companies have stepped up – urging them to lower their prices and increase their speeds,” said Biden at a White House Rose Garden event on the effort. “So eligible families can now select a plan from a participating provider and get high-speed Internet access at no charge in most cases.”

The announcement follows provisions of the administration’s bipartisan Infrastructure Act to subsidize wireless internet for low-income families under the Affordable Connectivity Program, which lowers internet service costs for families eligible for up to $30 per month through grants.

Biden thanked participating vendors — which include national names like AT&T, Comcast, Frontier, Spectrum and Verizon, as well as more local vendors like Jackson Energy Authority and Ideatek. The president said participating providers cover approximately 80% of the US population.

He also threw in the initiative as part of his broader efforts to fight inflation.

“The bottom line is this – my top priority is to fight inflation and bring down prices for families on the things they need,” the president told lawmakers and leaders in the garden. “Today’s announcement will give millions of families…a little more breathing room to help pay their bills. We’ve worked with Democrats and Republicans, with businesses and nonprofits. , to make that happen, and we’re going to keep working to fight inflation and lower costs for all American families, and so much more.”

To receive program benefits, a member of a given household must meet certain low-income thresholds or participate in one of the national assistance programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, l school free and at a reduced price. Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program, Pell Grants or others.

An estimated 11.5 million households have registered to participate in CPA to date.

The Biden administration has considered different proposals to bridge America’s digital divide, which has persisted for years. And early in his presidential term, Biden asked Vice President Kamala Harris to lead White House efforts on broadband access. The issue, however, has sparked heated political battles over how much money to spend, where to spend it, and what kinds of internet access Americans need to stay competitive in the 21st century.

At the Rose Garden event, Biden called internet access a “necessity” and Harris argued that “in the 21st century, internet access is critical to success.”

“Everyone in our country, regardless of income, should be able to afford high-speed internet access and a high-speed internet plan,” she said.

Participating companies were voluntarily partnering with the administration, according to the White House.

Comcast Cable CEO and Chairman David Watson said in a statement that the program represents “a historic opportunity to bridge the digital divide by enabling more Americans to connect and connect to our growing world. digital”.

“We have worked on digital equity issues for over a decade and believe this new program provides even more support to achieve these goals. We are proud to work with our government and community partners to bridge the digital divide,” wrote Watson.

The 20 providers participating in Monday’s pledge provide coverage to 80% of the country’s population and 50% of the country’s rural population, according to the White House.

The administration is also launching a new website, GetInternet.gov, which will allow eligible households to connect to Internet service providers and register for the CPA, launch outreach programs through federal programs whose recipients are eligible for subsidized internet, and to partner with cities and states to spread the word.

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