Verizon extends free FWA services to qualifying householdsVerizon extends free FWA services to qualifying households
Following a similar Fios program, the new 'Verizon Forward' initiative brings free 5G Home and LTE-based Internet services to households that qualify for the FCC's Affordable Connectivity Program.
October 6, 2022
Verizon has a new job for its mix of fixed wireless access (FWA) services: providing free connectivity to households that qualify for the FCC's Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).
The company said its new "Verizon Forward Program" provides free 5G Home and LTE Home Internet services to households that qualify for the ACP, the broadband service discount initiative for low-income households. The ACP succeeded the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB), an FCC program launched during the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new Verizon Forward Program, which follows the launch of the Fios Forward program earlier this year, focuses on the company's FWA offerings that are delivered via Verizon's 4G/LTE and 5G networks.
To qualify for free home Internet services, customers must first be enrolled in the ACP, which, as a baseline, provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward Internet services to eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying tribal lands.
Verizon's 5G Home service starts at $50 per month for customers who bundle in a qualifying mobile plan or $70 per month for those who don't. The 5G-based service delivers speeds up to 1 Gbit/s, but touts "typical download speeds" of about 300 Mbit/s.
At last week's MWC event in Las Vegas, Verizon introduced a new 5G Home receiver built on Qualcomm's FWA platform that is about 60% smaller and lighter than previous-generation 5G Home receivers. The new device will also support Verizon's use of both millimeter wave and C-band (midband) spectrum for FWA services.
Verizon's slower LTE-based home Internet service starts at $25 per month (when paired with an auto-pay option and certain mobile plans) and goes up to $60 per month. Speeds for Verizon's 4G-based offering are in the range of 25 Mbit/s to 50 Mbit/s downstream, with typical upload speeds of about 4 Mbit/s.
FWA action heating up
The expansion into the ACP pool also comes about as Verizon's FWA play continues to gather momentum. The company added 256,000 FWA subs in Q2 2022, extending its total to 384,000.
"Digital inclusion is not just nice to have, but a necessity. It is critical that we offer accessible, affordable and usable digital solutions," Verizon Chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg said in a statement. "Income should not be a barrier for reliable connectivity, which is why it's so important that we provide free Verizon Home Internet to ACP-qualifying customers across the country."
— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading
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