Commissioner attends White House announcement on internet access

Published: May. 9, 2022 at 4:36 PM EDT
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Palm Beach County Commissioner Gregg Weiss attended an event at the White House on Monday where President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris announced cost reductions for high-speed internet for millions of Americans.

"I've heard from constituents throughout Palm Beach County struggling to get access," Weiss told WPTV.

Those constituents are struggling to get access to something most of us use every day: the internet.

"From our seniors to our families that have struggled beginning prior to the pandemic, the pandemic really brought it into focus, the lack of accessibility, really creating a digital divide in our community," Weiss said.

That's why Weiss was at the White House on Monday.

The Biden-Harris administration announced massive reductions in the cost of high-speed internet for 48 million households in the U.S. that are enrolled in the new Affordable Connectivity Program, which is part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Qualification for the program is based on household income and other factors.

"These are families that are 200% of the poverty level or families receiving Medicaid, families that have a member that are in free and reduced lunch programs and so forth," Weiss said. "So, that's going to cover a lot of families in Palm Beach County."

Nationwide, nearly 40% of households qualify, according to Biden's speech on Monday.

"In the 21st century, access to the internet is essential to success," Harris said. "Every person in our nation, no matter how much they earn, should be able to afford high-speed internet and a high-speed plan."

"Today, too many families can't afford to get connected, even if there's access to get connected," Biden said.

Twenty internet providers, including AT&T and Comcast, which serve thousands of South Floridians, are now part of the expanded effort.

The program gives qualifying households up to $30 a month toward their bill, helping them afford Wi-Fi for work, school, health care and so much more.

"I mean, this is really what I think we all were hoping for, that the private sector was going to come to the table, if you will, and be a part of the solution," Weiss said.

Biden said the Affordable Connectivity Program has already helped 11 million households lower their monthly bills.

If you would like to see if you qualify for the program, call 1-877-384-2575.

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