Free Internet: Millions Qualify for New Government Program


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It is easier for millions of Americans to get free, high-speed internet at home.

The White House announced Monday that it has reached agreements with 20 Internet service providers in the United States. U. Plans provide speeds of at least 100 megabits per second “wherever the provider’s infrastructure is able to do so,” according to the White House.

“High-speed Internet service is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity,” the White House said in a statement on Monday. “But too many families are running out of high-speed internet because of the cost or having to cut back on other essentials to make monthly payments for internet service.”

The new internet plans available are part of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), a federal broadband discount program created through the bipartisan infrastructure law passed in November 2021. The program was launched earlier this winter and acts as a long-term extension for a defunct stimulus initiative that has temporarily helped low-income households cover the costs of the internet.

The previous internet discount program offered by the government included a more generous subsidy of $ 50 a month for most eligible households. But because current participating ISPs have agreed to speed up or lower the prices of their plans, the ACP actually covers full monthly internet bills for more people, with faster service, the White House says.

Under the ACP, the federal government offers a monthly online subsidy of up to $ 30 to households earning 200% or less of the federal poverty line. or receive one of several government benefit programs, including Pell Grant, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and SNAP, also known as food stamps. Homes on tribal land can receive up to $ 75 a month to offset their internet bills.

The new deals make broadband free for “tens of millions of Americans,” according to the White House. In short, 20 internet providers, made up of national and local businesses, which cover about 80% of the population, have created new monthly internet plans that are priced at $ 30 or less to match the federal subsidy.

However, people who receive the benefit can use the subsidy in a more expensive plan and pay the remaining costs if they so wish. In total, more than 1,300 vendors accept the grant.

So far, the White House says 11.5 million households have registered in the ACP and that almost 1 in 4 households could benefit from a subsidy. This suggests that millions more people might be eligible for the benefit but have not yet applied to the program. To bridge the gap, the White House has directed government agencies that offer benefits, such as SSI and SNAP, to communicate with eligible low-income households.

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How To Get Free Internet From The Government

To receive the benefit, low-income Americans must first apply online, by phone, or by mail. Once accepted, they should contact a participating Internet service provider, such as Comcast, Verizon, or one of hundreds of other companies, and sign up for a plan to apply for their ACP grant.

The White House is trying to make the application process a little smoother. In Monday’s announcement, the White House also said it is launching a new website, GetInternet.gov, to help people browse participating ISPs and see if they meet the requirements. As of Monday, the site does not appear to be fully operational and is currently redirecting visitors to an ACP information page at WhiteHouse.gov.