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Biden administration urges Gianforte to push broadband assistance program

Aaron Bolton
Montana Public Radio

The Biden administration is urging Montana’s governor to encourage more residents to sign up for a federal program offering assistance for broadband service.

More than 25,000 households in Montana are already enrolled in the Affordable Connectivity Program, according to the White House. The program was created by a $14 billion infrastructure package Congress passed last year.

Vice President Kamala Harris wrote a letter to Gov. Greg Gianforte this week saying as many as 151,000 Montana households are still eligible for discounted internet service.

The program offers eligible participants a $30 per month discount on their internet bills, and $75 per month for households on tribal lands. Participants also get a one-time $100 discount to buy a tablet or computer. Residents who earn up to 200% of the federal poverty level, or about $55,000 per year for a family of four, are eligible to apply.

Harris asked Gianforte to promote the program’s new website. She also asked the state to use existing programs, like Medicaid or free and reduced lunches at schools, to identify and reach out to eligible residents.

In a statement, Gianforte’s office said as it works “to expand access to reliable broadband and close the digital divide, we’ll consider how to best include this program into our efforts.”

Copyright 2022 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.

Shaylee is a UM Journalism School student. She reports and helps produce Montana Evening News on MTPR.