Service sector

White House touts ‘free’ internet service plans

The White House said Monday that 20 internet service providers have agreed to offer $30 high-speed internet packages to low-income families, providing free service to households eligible for a federal subsidy.

Why is this important: Cost is a key factor in the digital divide between those who have Internet service and those who do not.

Catch up fast: The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) provides a monthly rebate of $30 on internet service from participating providers for low-income households, such as those receiving federal assistance through SNAP or Medicaid.

Driving the news: President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will tout the deal with vendors — which includes Verizon, Comcast and Charter — at a CPA-focused event on Monday.

  • In a call with reporters, senior administration officials said the administration had worked with 20 program providers to increase the speed of service or decrease the price to offer 100 Mbps service for $30 per month.
  • For example, Verizon has reduced the price of a $40-a-month plan to $30 for ACP households, a senior administration official said.
  • The 20 ISPs cover more than 80% of the US population, but they represent only a fraction of the more than 1,000 providers participating in the CPA.

What they say : “CPA-eligible families who choose to apply their CPA benefit to one of these plans will enjoy high-speed internet access at no monthly charge,” said a senior administration official.

  • “Every person in our country, regardless of income, should be able to afford high-speed internet access and a high-speed internet plan,” Vice President Harris said during a Event Monday.
  • “This is a great example of what we can accomplish when the federal government and the private sector work together to solve serious problems,” President Biden added at the event.

And after: The White House launches a website, GetInternet.gov, and reaches out to eligible households through federal agencies to encourage signup.

  • As many as 48 million households are eligible for the program, a senior administration official said. So far, just over 11.5 million people have signed up.