CHICAGO (CBS) — Millions of Americans are getting new, affordable high-speed internet access as part of the Affordable Connectivity Program created through the bipartisan federal infrastructure law.
As CBS’s Debra Alfarone reports, it could bring the monthly internet bill down to zero.
“High-speed internet is not a luxury any longer. It’s a necessity,” President Joe Biden said.
Bridging the digital divide, Biden announced 20 internet providers have agreed to speed up internet service and lower costs for millions of Americans.
“If you qualify, you’re gonna get a $30 credit per month toward your internet bill; which for most folks means they get on for nothing,” Biden said.
The average cost of a broadband internet connection in the U.S. is $61.07 a month, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, among the highest in the world.
Providers are now capping costs for qualifying Americans at $30 a month, matching the internet service subsidy in the president’s trillion-dollar infrastructure law.
The need for speed became even more apparent during the pandemic, with remote learning and work-from-home.
“I think it’s vital at this point to make sure that all families have that option available to them, so that we don’t move backwards in terms of what learned from COVID,” said Alex Roosenburg, founder of Capitol Learning Academy.
The president made expanding high-speed internet access in rural and low-income areas a priority on the campaign trail, and in his push to get the infrastructure bill through Congress.
Many states and municipalities are working to expand access, which residents in rural areas liken to keeping the lights on.
“In today’s economy, this is just the same thing,” said Judy Erickson, co-owner of Pleasant Valley Orchard in Minnesota.
Those who are receiving SNAP benefits, Medicaid or even Pell grants may qualify, and 11.5 million Americans have already signed up. To find out if you qualify, go to www.getinternet.gov