The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved a $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit Program aimed at reducing internet prices for low-income residents.
The program will help families with $50 monthly credit pay for their internet access during the pandemic. The beneficiaries of the program will receive between $75-$100 depending on their income.
The program was created to close the internet gap in poor societies
The coronavirus pandemic has shown that millions of people living in low-income areas do not have access to the internet. The FCC hopes the program will close the gap and help more low-income residents gain access to the internet.
The program is very important as most people now carry out essential activities like school and work online. Also, people in areas with little to no access to the vaccine won't be able to sign up for vaccine rollouts in their states.
Before the pandemic, multiple people have criticized the inaccessibility of the internet in some areas caused by "inaccurate broadband maps, lack of corporate investment and an insufficient focus on rural areas as key hurdles preventing millions of Americans from getting online."
The FCC estimates that more than 20million Americans don't have access to quality internet
The FCC released a report saying that more than 20million Americans don't have access to fast internet, but many people believe the numbers are higher. Congress in 2020 made allowances for the FCC broadband program in the stimulus bill.
The FCC created a team early this year to collect accurate data about broadband distribution in low-income areas. Registration for the benefits package will commence in the coming weeks.
FCC's acting chairwoman said the commission is currently trying to put in place systems that will facilitate the easy transmission of information between network providers and the FCC. She also added the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program will help everyone have access to the internet.