Twenty internet providers, including Verizon (VZ.N), Comcast (CMCSA.O) and AT&T (T.N), have committed to cutting prices or increasing internet speeds for millions of lower-income U.S. families, President Joe Biden said on Monday.
“This is a case where big business stepped up,” said Biden, who was joined by Vice President Kamala Harris in the White House Rose Garden to announce the plan along with executives from companies that provide internet services.
The commitments are part of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), part of an infrastructure law passed by Congress with support from Republicans and Biden’s Democrats last year. It helps eligible American families reduce their internet bills by as much as $30 a year, the White House said.
With the new commitments, tens of millions of households that are eligible for the ACP will receive internet service free of charge, it said.
Households with low incomes can qualify for the program. Receiving federal assistance through other programs, such as food subsidies or the Medicaid low-income health insurance programs, also makes a household eligible.
Biden said the pandemic, with many people working from home, showed the importance of broadband.
“High-speed internet is not a luxury any longer, it’s a necessity,” he said.
A senior administration official told reporters on a conference call that the companies had made the commitments voluntarily. Biden directed people interested in the program to the website, Getinternet.gov.