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Biden administration to launch free or reduced-cost internet program

Biden
Posted at 4:39 AM, May 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-09 11:56:20-04

The Biden administration says 20 internet companies have agreed to provide discounted service to low-income Americans.

The program announced Monday could effectively make tens of millions of households eligible for free service. The $1 trillion infrastructure package passed by Congress last year included funding that provided $30 monthly subsidies on internet service for millions of lower-income households — $75 in tribal areas.

With the new commitment from the internet providers, 48 million households will be eligible for $30 monthly plans for service at least 100 megabits per second. That makes their internet service fully covered by the government subsidy if they sign up for service with one of the program's providers.

Part of President Joe Biden's announcement on Monday will be the launching of GetInternet.gov, a website with details on how Americans can sign up for affordable service and find participating internet providers in their area.

The Biden administration said Americans can qualify for the service either because their income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level, or because a member of the household meets one of the other criteria below:

  • Participates in one of the following programs:
    • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps
    • Medicaid
    • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
    • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
    • Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
    • Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program, including at U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Community Eligibility Provision schools
    • Federal Pell Grant (received in the current award year)
    • Lifeline
    • Certain Tribal assistance programs, including Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Head Start (only households meeting the income qualifying standard), Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF), and Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations

Biden is expected to speak about the program from the White House Monday afternoon.