In the USA, Internet connections are subsidized for low incomes. Soon, the sum will also be sufficient for broadband connections. Several dozen million households are affected.
The basic idea behind the Affordable Connectivity program, which has been in place for some time, is the assumption that Internet access is central to social participation in today’s world. Already, low-income households receive up to $30 per month to afford a connection.
Now the government has announced it has struck deals with twenty major providers covering 80 percent of the country’s population. Under the agreements, the providers promise either to increase data rates in existing tariffs or to lower prices so that the 30 U.S. dollars are sufficient for a connection with at least 100 MBit per second.
This ensures that people with low incomes not only have access to the Internet at all, but also as fast as possible – something that seems indispensable in times of video conferencing and the like.
Up to 48 million households could benefit
It is also planned to make access to the subsidy as low-threshold as possible. For example, an Internet site will be set up that people can use to independently check whether they are eligible. In addition, authorities will contact eligible households on their own initiative and draw their attention to the funding opportunity. In addition to full eligibility, partial eligibility is also possible. In total, up to 48 million households could benefit from the program.
The expansion of the program is part of a $1.2 trillion infrastructure initiative. Other measures under the initiative include broadband expansion, the creation of easily accessible contract comparison services, and a ban on provider-locked leases.