WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – A new program could help connect tens of millions of families across the country to the internet.
President Joe Biden on Monday announced a new government partnership with internet providers.
“It’s going to change people’s lives,” Biden said.
In last year’s infrastructure package, Congress earmarked billions of dollars for the Affordable Connectivity Program, which gives low-income families $30 monthly subsidies for internet. Now, the Biden Administration is announcing a deal with 20 companies to offer high-speed internet to qualified families for the price of that subsidy, making their internet essentially free.
“This means fast internet, good download speeds with no data caps and no extra fees,” Biden said.
WOW! Internet CEO Teresa Elder said her company is thrilled to be part of the program and helping families get access.
“So they can stay connected for learning, for telehealth, for entertainment, just socially connecting,” Elder said.
The administration estimates that about 48 million households qualify for the program and said they will now be able to better afford internet access.
“When we connect people with high speed internet, we connect them with opportunity,” Vice President Kamala Harris said.
Families need to sign up to participate. The Biden administration is launching getinternet.gov to help get the word out. They’re also sending messages to eligible people through federal agencies and local service organizations.
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said convincing people to join is an important piece of this effort.
“We have to do more education to let folks know it’s here, you can afford it and you really need to sign up,” Raimondo said.
Ultimately, the president’s team is hopeful cutting costs here provides some relief from rising inflation.
“A little more breathing room to help them pay their bills,” Biden said.
“If the American family can say, ‘my internet bill just went to $0 a month,’ that’s fantastic,” Raimondo added.