The offers are available through the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB), and will offer some customers internet services for free or very low cost.
EBB refers to the temporary federal government program which gives eligible customers a $50 benefit per month for internet or wireless services, and $75 per month on qualifying tribal lands.
With the past year of the pandemic, officials say there have been inequalities exposed.
“The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the digital divide in America as many underserved households were unable to afford broadband connectivity to work from home or enable their children to participate in remote learning. Through our collaboration with AT&T, we are staying true to our mission and making this important resource available to our customers at an affordable price,” said Mehrdad Akbar, vice president of wireless and photo services at Walmart U.S. “This isn’t a problem that was created overnight, nor will it be solved quickly, but every step in the right direction helps.”
And according to John Dwyer, president of the AT&T Prepaid Portfolio which includes Cricket Wireless, the plans are a way for the company to help alleviate the pains of the financial blows the pandemic dealt to ordinary Americans.
“To help address this, Walmart and the AT&T Prepaid Portfolio are teaming up to support the communities we serve and do our part in helping to bridge the digital divide that exists across the country,” he said.
He added that offering eligible EBB plans was just “another way we can work together to make life easier for those who have been financially impacted over the past year.”
The digital divide has been proven to be glaring, with as many as 162 million Americans not using the internet at broadband speeds even before the pandemic. The Federal Communications Commission has said that there were around 21 million Americans who didn’t have broadband access.