Access from AT&T launches for low-income Americans across 21 states, offers 3 Mbps for $5/month

AT&T (NYSE: T) said today it will launch a new program called "Access from AT&T" that will provide inexpensive home wired internet service to Americans who live in the carrier's 21-state service area and who participate in the U.S. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program, which used to be called food stamps.

AT&T is offering three basic plans, which will vary based on where customers live:

  • 10 Mbps for $10 per month
  • 5 Mbps for $10 per month
  • 3 Mbps for $5 per month

AT&T is also offering an in-home Wi-Fi modem through the program and access to its 30,000 public Wi-Fi hotspots nationwide.

In the carrier's fine print, AT&T notes that users will have a 150 GB or 250 GB monthly cap, based on their service plans. "If you exceed your monthly data plan allowance, you will be automatically charged $10 for each 50 GB of data usage in excess of your data plan, even if less than 50 gigabytes is used," the carrier said.

Finally, AT&T said it is also offering access to online learning sites, job searching options and more through its AT&T Digital You portal.

"We're making it easier for more people to connect to friends, family, their communities and the possibilities of the Internet," said Cheryl Choy, AT&T's VP of wired voice and broadband products, in a release. "Access from AT&T is an affordable Internet option available to millions of Americans with limited budgets."

AT&T's offer comes a few months after the carrier closed its acquisition of DirecTV; one of the regulatory conditions of that transaction required AT&T to provide inexpensive broadband at a reasonable price.

AT&T of course is not the only network operator working to bridge the so-called "digital divide" that separates low-income Americans from internet access. For example, Google Fiber said recently it will offer free internet services to thousands of low-income users across its footprint. And Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) continues to offer low-cost internet service under its "Internet Essentials" brand to families with at least one child eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program; the program provides 10 Mbps Internet service for $9.95 a month.

The FCC itself continues to work to make internet services available to poor Americans. In March the regulator voted along party lines to upgrade the Lifeline program to enable low-income residents to get broadband access. The vote essentially expands the Lifeline program from voice services to broadband offerings, providing participants with around $10 a month in subsidies for internet services.

For more:
- see this AT&T release

Related articles:
FCC passes broadband-focused Lifeline reform following failed bipartisan agreement
CenturyLink: 10/1 Mbps broadband requirement is too rigid for Lifeline customers
Broadband-centric Lifeline proposal gets mixed response from commissioners, trade groups
Comcast partners with HUD, further extends Internet Essentials to public housing


Like this story? Subscribe to FierceTelecom!

The Telecom industry is an ever-changing world where big ideas come along daily. Our subscribers rely on FierceTelecom as their must-read source for the latest news, analysis and data on the intersection of telecom and media. Sign up today to get telecom news and updates delivered to your inbox and read on the go.