Affordable Connectivity Program Commitments by Internet Service Providers
Friday, May 27, 2022
Affordable Connectivity Program Commitments by Internet Service Providers
You’re reading the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society’s Weekly Digest, a recap of the biggest (or most overlooked) broadband stories of the week. The digest is delivered via e-mail each Friday.
Round-Up for the Week of May 23-27
On May 9, 2022, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris announced that they have secured commitments from 20 internet service providers to lower high-speed internet costs for US consumers. The providers are all participating in the Affordable Connectivity Program, a $14.2 billion federal program created by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to subsidize broadband service for low-income households. This is the second part in a series looking at the price reductions or speed increases of the twenty companies featured in the Biden Administration's announcement. In our first article, we looked at 11 companies and their new affordability commitments. Here, we take a look at the other 9 providers, arranged by number of subscribers.
Internet Service Provider Commitments
Fixed wireless and fiber broadband provider Starry Internet is offering up to 100 Megabits per second (Mbps) download and 50 Mbps upload to Affordable Connectivity Program subscribers. The company has offered symmetrical broadband speeds of 30 Mbps at $15 per month through its Starry Connect program, which partners with owners of select public and affordable housing to bring broadband to building residents. Now, the company is offering 100/50 Mbps for $30/month, or free with the Affordable Connectivity Program subsidy, through its Starry Select tier where available. Outside of its Starry Connect offerings, the company has a standard plan of 50 Mbps symmetrical broadband speeds for $30/month, which would also be free under the Affordable Connectivity Program. Starry participates in the Affordable Connectivity Program in California, Colorado, Washington (DC), Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia.
AltaFiber, formerly Cincinnati Bell, and its subsidiary Hawaiian Telcom are participating in the Affordable Connectivity Program with their DSL and fiber broadband services. AltaFiber and Hawaiian Telcom are offering symmetrical fiber broadband speeds of 100 Mbps for $30/month for Affordable Connectivity Program participants where available. The company does not offer any other plans that are free under the Affordable Connectivity Program, but its standard symmetrical 250-300 Mbps fiber plan costs $39.99/month ($10 after the subsidy) where available. AltaFiber participates in the Affordable Connectivity Program in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. Hawaiian Telcom participates in, you guessed it, Hawaii.
Comporium is offering a new Connected Internet program with free service for Affordable Connectivity Program subscribers. The company provides either symmetrical fiber broadband speeds of 100 Mbps or cable speeds of 100 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload for free for program-eligible consumers. This level of service is $39.99/month for standard customers. Comporium made this deal available to customers starting March 31, 2022. Comporium participates in the Affordable Connectivity Program in North and South Carolina.
Fiber broadband provider Allo Communications is participating in the Affordable Connectivity Program in Colorado and Nebraska. Its program-specific monthly plan offers eligible consumers symmetrical broadband speeds of 100 Mbps for free. The company does not offer any other plans for low-income consumers. The company announced its plan on January 26, 2022.
Vexus Fiber currently participates in the Affordable Connectivity Program in Louisiana and Texas. For standard consumers, the fiber broadband company offers symmetrical speeds of 150 Mbps for $39.99/month. With the Affordable Connectivity Program, the company offers that same plan for free to qualifying consumers.
EPlus Broadband, a division of Jackson Energy Authority, is participating in the Affordable Connectivity Program with its fiber broadband services. The provider is offering symmetrical broadband speeds of 100 Mbps for $30/month exclusively for Affordable Connectivity Program subscribers. The Jackson Energy Authority participates in the Affordable Connectivity Program in Jackson, Tennessee—about 80 miles northeast of Memphis..
The Vermont Telephone Company (VTel) has rolled out its "All In" Fully Funded Affordable Connectivity Program Plan for eligible consumers. The company offers free fiber broadband service with symmetrical speeds of 100 Mbps for all Affordable Connectivity Program participants in its service areas. The company has no other low-income broadband plans for consumers. VTel participates in the Affordable Connectivity Program in Vermont, the home to the highest concentration of sugar maple trees in the U.S.
IdeaTek offers fiber broadband, DSL and wireless services in Kanas. The Affordable Connectivity Program-participating provider is offering 100 Mbps service to eligible program participants where available. The company is dedicated to improving internet access in rural Kansas through its Internet Freedom For All campaign, through which it partners with the Kansas Department of Commerce to bring free public wifi through hotspots to Kansas schools and rural areas.
MLGC is a cable and fiber broadband provider in North Dakota. The company is participating in the Affordable Connectivity Program, offering speeds of 100 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload for $30/month to qualifying program subscribers. The company does not offer any other low-income internet deals.
How Easy is it for Low-Income Customers to Find Information about the Affordable Connectivity Program?
The more local the internet service provider, the less available the information on Affordable Connectivity Program deals. The three largest providers listed–Starry, AltaFiber and Comporium–feature information about the Affordable Connectivity Program prominently on their websites, making it easy to find for current and prospective consumers. These three companies also have the most affordable service offerings outside of their new Affordable Connectivity Program-specific plans.
The remaining six providers offer no featured information on the Affordable Connectivity Program on their home pages. These are the most local providers on the Biden Administration's list of providers. Four of them (EPlus/Jackson Energy Authority, the VTel, IdeaTek, and MLGC) operate in one state each. While they may not provide as much readily accessible information as the larger providers, these smaller providers still include program information on their dedicated Affordable Connectivity Program pages.
All 20 of the companies highlighted by the Biden Administration have dedicated Affordable Connectivity Program pages with a wealth of information for their customers. While some may be less prominent than others, none of them are impossible to find. Each internet service provider has an Affordable Connectivity Program-affiliated program to help consumers access high-speed internet in their area, for free.
- Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Support for 88 Winning Bids Ready to be Authorized (FCC)
- FCC Announces Over $2.8 Billion In Funding Requests For Final Window In Ongoing Work To Close The Homework Gap (FCC)
- FCC Seeks Comment on National Lifeline Association Petition (FCC)
- No Sohn Means No Broadband Map, and No Broadband Map Means No BEAD Money (Harold Feld)
- Three-in-Four Voters Favor Reinstating Net Neutrality (University of Maryland)
Weekend Reads (resist tl;dr)
- The Economic Consequences and Generational Impact of the Digital Divide (Francella Ochillo)
- Towards A Digital Equity Foundation (New America)
- Ten (Suggested) Commandments for Closing the Digital Divide (ITIF)
ICYMI from Benton
- Internet Service Providers Commit to Affordable Broadband (Grace Tepper)
- Does your cable company participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program? (Grace Tepper)
- Does your telephone company participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program? (Grace Tepper)
- Does your wireless company participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program? (Grace Tepper)
- Diving into Digital Equity: Lessons from Focus Groups (Grace Tepper)
- Reimagining Lifeline: Universal Service, Affordability, and Connectivity (John Horrigan)
- The Ills That Kill Democracy (Michael Copps)
May 31—NOFO FOMO? Unpacking NTIA's $42 Billion Broadband equity, Access, and Deployment Notice (Technology Policy Institute)
Jun 1—The Middle Mile: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You! (Fiber Broadband Association)
Jun 1—5G and Future Technological Innovations (Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council)
Jun 7—Technological Advisory Council (FCC)
Jun 8—June 2022 Open Federal Communications Commission Meeting
Jun 9—Technological Advisory Council (FCC)
Jun 12—Fiber Connect 2022 (Fiber Broadband Association)
Jun 14—How States Can Make the Most of Broadband Funding (Information Technology & Innovation Foundation)
Jun 15—Children’s Privacy in Review: The Future of COPPA (Information Technology & Innovation Foundation)
Jun 23—Public Listening Session on Implementing Initial Findings and Recommendations of the National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource Task Force (White House)
The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all people in the U.S. have access to competitive, High-Performance Broadband regardless of where they live or who they are. We believe communication policy - rooted in the values of access, equity, and diversity - has the power to deliver new opportunities and strengthen communities.
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