AT&T is going to start offering broadband internet services for $10 a month to eligible low-income families in Illinois through its "Access from AT&T" in areas where the telco offers wireline internet service.
Eligible customers will also be able to get Wi-Fi services to support their laptop or smart phone inside the home. Additionally, participating customers will be able to get access to thousands of AT&T Wi-Fi hot spots outside of the home.
The $10 offer, which will be available through April of 2020, is a condition of AT&T’s acquisition of DirecTV in 2015. Participants won’t have to pay extra for service installation or activation.
AT&T initially launched the "Access from AT&T" program in April to 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 least one resident must participate in SNAP, and cannot have outstanding debt with AT&T connected to internet service or the Access program.
While 10 Mbps is the lead offering, AT&T said if that speed is not available in a participant's region, the program will offer 5 Mbps at the same price, and if that speed isn't available, it will offer 3 Mbps for $5 per month.
There is a catch with the service. The AT&T offer has a 150/300/600 gigabyte (GB) data cap, depending on the type and speed of the service a customer receives. Participants will be charged an additional $10 for every 50 GB used beyond that—even if less than 50 GB is used.
AT&T isn’t the only service provider offering internet services to low-income residents.
Google Fiber began offering a symmetrical 25 Mbps broadband service option to low income neighborhood residents in Kansas City, Missouri, one of its first FTTH markets, for example.
Extending internet services has been a key priority for the FCC. 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.
- see the release
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