New program offers free internet service to 48 million households; see if you qualify

A new program launched by the Biden administration offers free internet service to some 48 million households in America.

President Biden announced last week that 20 internet companies have agreed to provide discounted service — $30 a month — to people with low incomes. Under the Affordable Connectivity Program, eligible Americans can receive $30 monthly subsidies, making internet service fully paid for with government assistance if they sign up with one of the participating providers.

The 20 internet companies that have agreed to lower their rates provide service in areas where 80% of the U.S. population, including 50% of the rural population, live, according to the White House. Participating companies that offer service on tribal lands are providing $75 rates in those areas, the equivalent of the federal government subsidy.

Families of four earning about $55,000 annually are eligible. About 40% of Americans will qualify, Biden said.

What is the Affordable Connectivity Program?

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The $1 trillion infrastructure package passed by Congress last year included $14.2 billion in funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program. It provides $30 monthly subsidies ($75 in tribal areas) on internet service for millions of lower-income households.

Which internet companies are participating?

The 20 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
  • Wow! Internet, Cable, and TV.

How to sign up

The White House has set up a website for people to see if they qualify. If the website says you are eligible, you can apply for the benefit through the mail — or by contacting your existing internet provider if they are participating in the program.

You can learn more about how to apply on the Affordable Connectivity Program website. You can also call 877-384-2575.