Verizon announced on Monday it will soon offer customers who receive public assistance through the federal Lifeline program the opportunity to buy its Internet service for as little as $20 a month plus tax.
The program known as Fios Forward launched last April to Verizon’s home Internet customers in nine states along the eastern portion of the country as well as Washington, D.C. It offers new customers receiving Lifeline benefits a fiber-optic Internet package with 200 Megabit-per-second (Mbps) upload and download speeds for $20 a month plus tax.
On Monday, Verizon said it would soon offer both new and existing customers the opportunity to enroll in Fios Forward while providing a new Gigabit package for the first time.
The three tiers being offered to Fios Forward customers are:
- Fios 200/200 Mbps for $20 a month plus tax
- Fios 400/400 Mbps for $40 a month plus tax
- Fios Gigabit for $60 a month plus tax.
The first two packages require customers to bring their own modem, though a Verizon modem-router device is also available for a separate fee. Verizon says it will waive its modem rental fee for the first 60 days of a customer’s account. The Gigabit package includes a Verizon modem-router device without the separate charge.
In a press release, a Verizon spokesperson said the company didn’t want to offer a bare-bones Internet package to customers who would otherwise struggle to afford their service. Unlike rival services Comcast and Charter/Spectrum, Verizon does not impose broadband data caps on its customers, and that perk is extended to Fios Forward subscribers, the company said.
“Our guiding principle is that we create the networks that move the world forward,” Frank Boulben, a marketing executive with Verizon, said in a statement. “Far too many families will be left behind if their home Internet can’t keep pace with today’s demands for learning and work. We know the impact connectivity has on advancement, so we’re extending Fios Forward to support digital inclusion and help create opportunity with affordable access to high-performing broadband Internet.”
Boulben said it was important for children, particularly those in school, to have fast Internet connections in order to keep up with the demands of remote learning and video services that their peers use.
“A broadband internet connection isn’t the full measure of how much a family can become part of an inclusive future for the digital age,” he said.
In addition to the discount rates on the three Fios Foward packages, new and existing customers who convert to Fios Forward will receive the new Discovery Plus streaming service included with their service. Fios Gigabit subscribers will receive Discovery Plus for free for the first 12 months of their service; other customers will receive Discovery Plus for free for 6 months.