New plans from internet providers are part of the Biden administration’s effort to increase access to broadband and reach more users, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription).
What’s happening: “Twenty internet providers, including AT&T Inc. [and] Comcast Corp. … agreed to improve subsidized high-speed internet plans they offer to millions of unconnected households.”
- The move is part of the Affordable Connectivity Program that was launched as part of last year’s bipartisan infrastructure plan.
- The infrastructure plan allocated $14 billion to the program as part of the effort to bolster America’s broadband network.
The goal: The Affordable Connectivity Program has failed to reach most of its eligible subscribers because people most in need have no access to the internet and aren’t aware that they’re eligible for a major discount. An important part of the new plans is ensuring that they’re accessible to the most users.
- “Many of the companies, which cover more than 80% of the U.S. population, agreed Monday to either boost the internet speeds that they offer through the program or to cut their rates to $30 a month for low-income and other households that qualify.”
Who’s eligible: An estimated 48 million households are eligible for the subsidy. According to the Federal Communications Commission, about 11.5 million households have already signed up for the subsidy.
- The Biden administration has launched a new website, GetInternet.gov, to provide information to Americans about signing up for the subsidies.
The NAM’s view: The NAM has been a strong supporter of expanded access to broadband for years, citing its importance in the policy blueprint “Building to Win.”