WASHINGTON D.C.: Some 20 internet companies have agreed to provide discounted services to people with low incomes, U.S. President Joe Biden has announced.
"High speed internet is not a luxury any longer. It's a necessity," Biden said, at an event which included representatives from participating companies and members of Congress.
Through the program, tens of millions of households would be eligible for free service through an already existing federal subsidy.
The $1 trillion infrastructure package passed by Congress last year included $14.2 billion funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program, which provides $30 monthly subsidies ($75 in tribal areas) on internet service for millions of lower-income households.
With the new commitment from the internet providers, some 48 million households will be eligible for $30 monthly plans for 100 megabits per second, or higher speeds, thereby making internet a service fully paid for with government assistance.
Biden noted that families of four earning about $55,000 annually - or those including someone eligible for Medicaid - will get a $30 monthly credit, allowing 40 percent of Americans to qualify.
"This is a case where big business stepped up. We're trying to get others to do the same thing," Biden said. "It's going to change peoples' lives."