President Joe Biden’s administration announced Monday that 20 internet companies have agreed to offer discounted services to low-income Americans in a program that could effectively make tens of millions of households eligible for free services through existing federal subsidies .

The $1 trillion (approximately Rs 7,737,100 crore) infrastructure package passed by Congress last year includes $14.2 billion (approximately Rs 1,099 billion) in funding for the Affordable program, which provides $30 (approximately Rs 2,300 crore) monthly subsidies (75 US dollars) – about 5,800 rupees – in tribal areas) to provide Internet service to millions of low-income households.

With new commitments from internet providers, around 48 million households will be eligible for plans for $30 (approximately Rs 2,300) per month for 100 Mbps or higher speeds – if they use government subsidies Internet service charges will be paid in full. Sign up with one of the providers participating in the program.

Biden has made expanding high-speed internet access in rural and low-income areas a priority during his White House campaign and push for an infrastructure bill. He has repeatedly talked about low-income struggling to find reliable Wi-Fi so their children can attend distance education and complete homework in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.

“If we didn’t know it before, now we know it: high-speed internet is essential,” the Democratic president said at the annual National Teacher Awards event at the White House last month.

According to the White House, 20 Internet companies that have agreed to reduce rates for eligible consumers serve in areas where 80 percent of the U.S. population, including 50 percent of the rural population, live. Participating companies providing services on tribal lands offer a rate of $75 (approximately Rs. 5,800) in these areas, which is equivalent to the federal government’s subsidy in these areas.

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Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will meet with telecom executives, members of Congress and others on Monday to focus on efforts to improve high-speed internet access for low-income households.

Suppliers are Allo Communications, AltaFiber (and Hawaiian Telecom), Altice USA (Optimum and Suddenlink), Astound, AT&T, Breezeline, Comcast, Comporium, Frontier, IdeaTek, Cox Communications, Jackson Energy Authority, MediaCom, MLGC, Spectrum (Charter Communications ), Starry, Verizon (Fios only), Vermont Telephone Company, Vexus Fiber, and Wow! Internet, cable and TV.

U.S. households are eligible through the Affordable The Connect program subsidies, Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA) and Veterans Pension and Survivor Benefits.

© Thomson Reuters 2022



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