By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
The White House has announced a plan to expand access to affordable high-speed internet access for millions of Americans, particularly low-income families.
Officials said the plan counts as part of the Biden-Harris administration’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), created under the historic bipartisan infrastructure bill.
Administration officials said 20 internet service providers, including AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast, have agreed to either lower costs or increase speeds to provide eligible households with access to broadband internet with speeds of at least 100 megabits per second.
They would do so at a cost of no more than $30 per month.
The move should help households of color where officials provided statistics that show Latino Americans are 15% less likely to have high-speed internet than their white peers, while Black families are 9% less likely.
Additionally, about 35% of all people living on Tribal lands lack access to broadband services.
The administration estimated that 48 million households qualify for the ACP, which accounts for about 40% of all households in the U.S. Qualifying households either earn below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level or have a member who receives other government benefits such as SNAP, Medicaid, or Supplemental Security Income.
“High-speed internet service is no longer a luxury – it’s a necessity,” administration officials wrote in a Fact Sheet.
“But too many families go without high-speed internet because of the cost or have to cut back on other essentials to make their monthly internet service payments. Lowering prices – including the cost of high-speed internet service – is President Biden’s top priority.”
As part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the President and Vice President worked with Democrats and Republicans to create the ACP.
“The Biden-Harris Administration is grateful for the efforts of these companies and encourages additional internet service providers to join this effort to close the digital divide by offering high-speed, low-cost plans,” officials stated.