PELION, S.C. — Twenty internet providers have agreed to speed up internet service and lower costs for millions of Americans.
On Monday, President Biden announced plans to speed up internet access and lower prices for users.
"If you qualify, you're gonna get a $30 credit per month toward your bill, which for most folks, means they'll get on for nothing," Biden.
The average cost of a broadband internet connection in the U.S. is about $61 a month. Providers will now be capping costs for qualifying Americans at $30 a month.
Tori Mosteller moved to Pelion because she missed the quiet country life. She she says what she didn’t expect was the slow internet.
“If my daughter is on her laptop and I have to get on my laptop, we cannot do two laptops at the same time," said Mosteller. “We sometimes even have to use our hotspots on our phones because our internet is so slow.”
Jim Stritzinger, director of the South Carolina Broadband Office, says internet access is critical.
“Any resident of the state of South Carolina that has an internet service provider that is eligible to offer the ACP, the Affordable Connectivity Program, is able to participate," Stritzinger said. “It's going to help make internet access available to South Carolinians and Americans across the county.”
Mosteller said there are times when her nine-year-old daughter Gracie cannot access the internet to complete schoolwork. "She’s had to be logged on at a certain time in the morning and we cannot get logged on.”
The lack of high-speed internet was exacerbated during the pandemic, especially for students in remote learning.
In a statement, State Department of Education spokesman Ryan Brown said in part, “The obstacle for most remains getting connectivity at all ...While improvements to price and speed will be beneficial, we still must ensure rural communities have the infrastructure in place to even get service.”
Patrick Kelly with the Palmetto Teachers Association said, in part, “The Governor and General Assembly have wisely committed to investing substantial amounts of federal COVID relief funds to close the broadband access gap in South Carolina… it will take coordination from multiple layers of government and the private sector to ensure every child has the access that they need and deserve.”
American households are eligible for subsidies through the Affordable Connectivity Program if their income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty level, or if a member of their family participates in one of several programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA) and Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit.
You can go to www.getinternet.gov to determine eligibility and sign up for the program.