Washington, D.C. — Lower-income families may get internet service for free under a new agreement between the government and a group of internet providers, the White House announced Monday.
Customers who meet the income eligibility guidelines and who live in an area serviced by one of the 20 providers in the agreement would qualify for free internet.
As part of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill signed into law in November, $65 billion was set aside to ensure more Americans have access to high-speed internet, including the roughly 30 million Americans who live in rural areas.
Some $14 billion of that funding was used to create the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which gives eligible households $30 a month discount on their internet bills.
The new agreement will provide those same households with internet services for just $30 a month, the White House said. Combined with the $30 discount, customers could get internet service for free.
For example, as part of this initiative, Verizon lowered the price for its Fios service from $39.99 a month to $30 a month for a plan that delivers download and upload speeds of at least 200 Megabits per second, and Spectrum doubled the speed of the $30a month plan it makes available to ACP participants from 50 to 100 Megabits per second (download speeds).
Eligibility is based on income, with those making at or below 200% of the federal poverty level eligible for the program.
To qualify, households must make at or below these income guidelines:
1 person: $27,180
2 people: $36,620
3 people: $46,060
4 people: $55,500
5 people: $64,940
For each additional person in the household, add $9,440.
Additionally, customers are eligible for the ACP if they or someone in their household participate in one of these programs:
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps
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
Received a Federal Pell Grant in the current award year
Participants may need to show a card, letter, or official document as proof that they participate in one of these programs when you apply for the ACP.
The internet providers are Allo Communications, AltaFiber (and Hawaiian Telecom), Altice USA (Optimum and Suddenlink), Astound, AT&T, Breezeline, Comcast, Comporium, Frontier, IdeaTek, Cox Communications, Jackson Energy Authority, MediaCom, MLGC, Spectrum (Charter Communications), Starry, Verizon (Fios only), Vermont Telephone Co., Vexus Fiber and Wow! Internet, Cable, and TV.
For more information, go to GetInternet.gov, which details how customers can sign up for ACP and find participating internet providers in their area.