Biden says high-speed internet access is ‘not a luxury’ but a ‘necessity’ as admin rolls out new program
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President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday announced a deal with more than a dozen U.S. internet service providers to give high-speed internet to Americans living in low-income areas, stressing that access is “not a luxury” but a “necessity.”
Internet service providers like AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and others agreed to provide “high-speed” internet access for $30 per month. The Biden administration also announced Monday a federal subsidy for low-income households that will pay up to $30 for internet access, effectively making the plan free for qualifying households.
BIDEN ADMIN REACHES DEAL TO PROVIDE ‘FREE’ INTERNET PLANS FOR LOW-INCOME HOUSEHOLDS
Americans can apply for access to the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) at a new government website that launched Monday.
The president, during a White House Rose Garden event Monday afternoon, said internet is “pretty consequential.”
“High-speed internet is not a luxury any longer, it is a necessity,” Biden said. “That’s why the bipartisan infrastructure law included $65 billion to make sure we expand access to broadband internet in every region of the country – urban, suburban, rural, everywhere.”
The president said the Affordable Connectivity Program will “change people’s lives.”
“I refuse to call it the ACP,” the president joked. “I am so tired of acronyms in Washington. I can’t stand it, cannot stand, but I’m going to have to learn it, aren’t I?”
Biden said the program will provide “fast internet, good downloads, speeds with no caps and no extra fees for millions of American families.”
The president also thanked Vice President Harris for “leading this effort” for the Biden administration.
Harris said that the Biden administration, earlier this year, called on internet service providers to “take action to help folks get internet.”
“The providers joining us today have answered that call,” Harris said, stressing that internet is “essential for success” in the 21st century.
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“Every person in our nation, no matter how much they earn, should be able to afford high-speed internet and a high-speed internet plan,” Harris said. “So that is why we are all here together today.”
Biden, on Monday, thanked the internet service providers, calling the agreement a “big deal,” and saying it is a “great example of what we can achieve when the federal government and the private sector work together to solve serious problems.”
Americans qualify for the program if their income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. They can also qualify if a member of their household uses any of a number of other federal programs, such as Medicaid, SNAP food stamps, or a veterans pension, according to the White House.
The ACP plan allows for download speeds of 100 Megabits per second, but qualifies that those speeds will only be available where “the provider’s infrastructure is capable of it.”
“The Biden-Harris administration is grateful for the efforts of these companies, and encourages additional internet service providers to join this effort to close the digital divide by offering high-speed, low-cost plans,” the White House said in a statement.
Fox News’ Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report.