FILE - A home router and internet switch are displayed on June 19, 2018, in East Derry, N.H. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File) Router Internet
FILE - A home router and internet switch are displayed on June 19, 2018, in East Derry, N.H. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

More than 900,000 Pennsylvanians are eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program, which provides monthly subsidies on internet service for low-income households.

Twenty internet companies have agreed to provide discount service to people with low incomes, a program that could effectively make tens of millions of households eligible for free service through an already existing federal subsidy.

President Joe Biden signed into law the $1 trillion infrastructure package last year which included $14.2 billion in funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program. The program provides $30 monthly subsidies on internet service for millions of lower-income households.

Families of four earning about $55,000 or less annually — or those including someone eligible for Medicaid — will get a $30 monthly credit, meaning about 40% of Americans will qualify.

Roughly 3% of Pennsylvanians (390,081) don’t have reliable broadband internet service. (The FCC says reliable internet is 25 megabits per second for downloading files and 3 megabits per second for uploading.) About 917,000 (23%) Pennsylvanians are eligible for the Affordability Connectivity Program. 

The 20 internet companies that have agreed to lower their rates for eligible consumers provide service in areas where 80% of the US population, including 50% of the rural population, live, according to the White House. 

The providers are Allo Communications, AltaFiber (and Hawaiian Telcom), Altice USA (Optimum and Suddenlink), Astound, AT&T, Breezeline, Comcast, Comporium, Frontier, IdeaTek, Cox Communications, Jackson Energy Authority, MediaCom, MLGC, Spectrum (Charter Communications), Starry, Verizon (Fios only), Vermont Telephone Co., Vexus Fiber and Wow! Internet, Cable, and TV.

In Pennsylvania, Wayne County has the worst broadband coverage; about 58.8% of residents do not have reliable internet service, according to Broadband Now. Fulton follows with 53.4% of residents not having reliable internet, Sullivan with 35.2%, and Susquehanna with 23.3%.

Allentown in Lehigh County ranks first in the state for best combination of broadband speed, coverage, and price, followed by Bethlehem, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia.