Fed program gives low-income Coloradans free or discounted internet

Claire Cleveland

By Claire Cleveland / NewsBreak

(Denver, Colo.) A new federal program offers steep discounts on high-speed internet for millions of low-income Americans.

During the pandemic, it became clear how essential internet access was for people who had to work and attend school from their homes. President Joe Biden said expanding internet access was one of his top priorities.

Comcast, Verizon and AT&T are a few of the 20 internet providers who will offer high-speed internet at a reduced cost.

The Affordable Connectivity Program ensures consumers pay no more than $30 a month for internet access. When paired with other federal subsidies, many consumers will get free internet access.

To see if you’re eligible for the program, visit getinternet.gov or call (877) 384-2575.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program provided a temporary discount on monthly broadband bills for qualifying low-income households during the pandemic.

In Colorado, uptake by consumers was slow, and only 100,492 households signed up as of January 2022, for which the most recent numbers are available. According to the state, there were 471,049 eligible Colorado households for the EBB program.

Expanding broadband access in Colorado is one of the top priorities of the Governor’s Office of Innovation and Technology. State officials have not yet announced how they will get the word out to eligible households. According to a statement from the White House, some states like New York and Arizona will text millions of people to advertise the program.

The Affordable Connectivity Program was made possible by the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which set aside $65 billion to improve the nation’s broadband services. Most of the funding will go to states for local lawmakers to use in state-based programs, but $14 billion will provide internet subsidies.

Households with an income at or below 200% of the federal poverty level are eligible and people who participate in one of several programs, including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA) and Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit.

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Claire Cleveland is a Denver-based freelance writer with a background in health and science reporting. She's covered the pandemic extensively and local news in Colorado. Previously, Claire was a reporter and producer for Colorado Public Radio.

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