More than 13.4 million families are signed up for the high-speed internet program in the U.S, some of which partook in a brief, pandemic-prompted policy that ended earlier this year.
This new initiative intends to reach at additional families, and contingent upon one’s monetary status, you could fit the bill for either free or reduced cost high-Internet service under a new government drive.
The Affordable Connectivity Program, as it’s called, provides a monthly discount of up to $30 for eligible households (up to $75 for those on qualifying tribal lands) for such service. It also allows a one-time discount of up to $100 — after a copay of $10 to $50 — on a laptop, desktop computer or tablet from a participating provider.
Around 48 million families — which is around 40% of U.S. families — are qualified for the program, as per a statistic from the Federal Communications Commission. Since the program produced results Dec. 31, a bigger number of than 13.4 million families have enlisted.
The new internet program was made through the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which Congress passed in November 2021. It is intended to be a super durable substitution for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, which was pandemic-related.
Almost 9 million families joined through that transitory drive and for the most part were moved to the new program recently.
According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), The cost of fast Internet is far off for such a large number of Americans, as the new program was officially launched a year ago.
Although the transitory arrangement gave a higher month to month advantage to non-ancestral families — up to $50 rather than the current $30, the new program is expected to reach at a more prominent number of families with extended qualification.
Meanwhile, the Joe Biden administration said in May that 20 Internet service providers — covering more than 80% of the U.S. population — agreed to offer plans for no more than $30 through the new program, which means some households could pay nothing for their service after the subsidy is applied.
Altogether, more than 1,300 providers are participating in the program. Under a $10 billion fund established by the American Rescue Plan of 2021, states are receiving money to bolster their broadband infrastructure — an arrangement that requires them to participate in the new program once the projects are completed.
How Do You Qualify For A Subsidized Program:
One way to qualify is to have gross income of no more than 200% of the federal poverty level, which depends on household size. For instance, for a family of two, the income cap would be $36,620; for a family of four, $$55,500. Alaska and Hawaii have higher limits for all household sizes.
Gross income includes all sources of income except those expressly excluded by the IRS such as death benefits from a life insurance contract, according to information provided by the FCC.
Apart from from eligibility based on income, there are other ways to qualify. For example, if you or a member of your household has received a federal Pell Grant for this school year, you can participate. Or, you may be able to qualify through a participating provider’s existing low-income program.
Other ways to qualify include receiving benefits from social programs such as Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (aka SNAP), free or reduced-cost school meal programs and others. The FCC has a full list of ways to qualify on its website. Some consumers may be able to be automatically verified as eligible, while others will need to provide documentation for review.
The plans through the Affordable Connectivity Program offer a minimum download speed of at least 100 megabits per second, which allows multiple users to simultaneously access the Internet for telework, remote schooling or health monitoring, according to the Biden administration.