Verizon extends reach of low-cost broadband program Fios Forward

The program will be offered for as little as $20 a month to households that qualify.

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Verizon's low-cost Fios Forward broadband program will be offered to more households that qualify.

James Martin/CNET

Verizon has begun offering its broadband program Fios Forward to low-income households. The service, introduced in April 2020, will be offered to new and existing customers who qualify for the Lifeline government assistance program for as little as $20 a month, the wireless carrier said Monday.

"Our guiding principle is that we create the networks that move the world forward," Frank Boulben, senior vice president of consumer marketing and product at 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."

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Three price tiers will be offered to qualified customers under one of Verizon's Mix & Match Fios Home Internet plans. The $20 Fios 200 plan offers up to 200 Mbps, while a $40 Fios 400 plan offers up to 400 Mbps. The $60 Fios Gigabit Connection offers up to 880 Mbps as well as a router.

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Qualifying new customers will also be eligible for additional promotions and benefits, including getting up to 12 months of the new streaming service Discovery Plus for free.

Lifeline, created in 1985, is a $1.5 billion subsidy program designed to help low-income families pay for phone service by giving out a $9.25-a-month subsidy. It was initially designed to provide discounts on traditional phone service for qualifying low-income families. The FCC expanded the program in 2016 to allow the subsidy to be used to pay for broadband service.