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Qualified families can get high-speed internet at a low cost under federal program

Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel in a blue jacket standing in front of a podium.
Susan Walsh
Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel talks about the infrastructure law's investments in affordable, accessible high-speed internet from the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex in Washington, Monday, Feb. 14, 2022.

Under a partnership with the federal government, 20 internet service companies have agreed to provide lower-income families high-speed plans for $30 a month or less, which, when coupled with a government subsidy, means many families can get high-speed access at no cost.

Households can qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program in a number of ways, including having an income that's within 200% of the federal poverty level; participating in the national school lunch program; or receiving Medicaid or Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefits.

The 20 companies participating include AT&T, Verizon (Fios) and Comcast. They'll each offer at least one high-speed plan for $30 a month or less.

“A lot of families during the pandemic, whether it was school online or working remotely online or for some families trying to do job-hunting online, really just kind of amplified the need for broadband access at home," said Jo Posti, director of public relations for Comcast’s Keystone region.

Posti said Comcast already had a broadband program for families that qualify. With the rollout of the Affordable Connectivity Program, they’ve repackaged it. So a household that’s eligible can get high-speed internet — 100 megabits per second of download speed, a cable modem and unlimited data for $29.95 a month. The government, in turn, provides a $30 subsidy to people who qualify.

According to the White House, about 48 million households — nearly 40% of American households — qualify for the program.

For more information on the program and to apply online, go to the Affordable Connectivity Program.

Anne Danahy has been a reporter at WPSU since fall 2017. Before crossing over to radio, she was a reporter at the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pennsylvania, and she worked in communications at Penn State. She is married with cats.
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