Verizon makes Fios free for low-income customers through federal program

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Verizon is introducing a new discount to its Fios Forward plans, which should let low-income customers get fiber internet for free when combined with discounts through the federal Affordable Connectivity Program. The free tier, which is normally $40 a month, includes 300Mbps speeds as well as a $10 discount on a Verizon Unlimited Wireless plan. Customers who need more bandwidth (and are able to pay more) can get a gigabit connection for $50 a month with the ACP discount, which also includes more benefits and a larger cell plan discount.

Verizon says Fios Forward is available to people who qualify for the government’s Lifeline program. The 200Mbps tier used to cost $20 a month, according to a Wayback Machine archive from November, so Verizon’s new discounts could be saving lower-income customers a substantial amount of money.

Image showing Verizons website, which lists a gigabit connection plan for $49.99, a 500 Mbps plan for $24.99, and a 300 Mbps plan for free.

Verizon’s current Fios Forward Plans, with prices after the $30-a-month ACP discount.

The 300Mbps speeds mentioned on Verizon’s website today should be available to “most customers,” but they can vary by location, according to an email to The Verge from Verizon spokesperson Alex Lawson. Verizon’s press release says that speeds start at 200Mbps, which is still relatively high compared to other low-income internet plans.

This is great news for the millions of people who live at an address that Verizon services with Fios. Unfortunately, Fios is only available in a handful of metropolitan areas. They’re big ones, to be sure — DC, NYC, Boston, Philadelphia, and Richmond are all on the list — but for those on the West Coast or in rural areas, it won’t necessarily be an option. Verizon’s 5G and 4G home internet plans are also eligible for the ACP discount.

Thankfully, Verizon isn’t the only provider upgrading its service in the wake of ACP. AT&T recently upgraded the maximum speeds of its Access plan, which households eligible for the federal discount can get for free. Comcast also doubled the speeds of its low-income plan last year, which is also eligible for the ACP.

Disclosure: Comcast is an investor in Vox Media, The Verge’s parent company.

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