CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Vice President Kamala Harris advocated for affordable access to high-speed internet during a visit to Charlotte Thursday. She spoke of the Biden administration's Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which was part of the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
Harris continued her trip to North Carolina despite President Joe Biden testing positive for COVID-19. Harris told the crowd at Carole Hoefener Center in Uptown Charlotte Thursday that said she spoke to Biden by phone Thursday morning and he is "doing well."
RELATED: Biden tests positive for COVID-19
Biden, who was not scheduled to travel with the vice president, remains in Washington where he is said to be experiencing "mild symptoms" from COVID-19.
Harris and Biden last saw each other in person Tuesday.
The vice president said so far, more than 1 million households have signed up for the ACP. The program provides $65 billion to expand internet for all, ensuring that every American has access to reliable and affordable high-speed internet.
"Every person in our nation, no matter how much they earn, should be able to afford a high-speed internet plan," she said.
Vice president hosts roundtable on reproductive rights
Harris also held a roundtable discussion with a dozen state legislators,as well as the executive director of an abortion provider and the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, to discuss reproduction rights following the Supreme Court’s landmark decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
"There are certain principles that are at stake on this issue and in this discussion, and one of them is that everyone in America should be free to make decisions about her own body without government interference," Harris said.
She called on state legislators to support Gov. Roy Cooper, whose veto power allows Democrats to block anti-abortion legislation. Harris also called on Congress to codify the right to abortion.
Cooper was at Charlotte Douglas International Airport Thursday to greet Harris upon her arrival.
Biden administration's push for Internat access
The Biden administration said access to high-speed internet is no longer a luxury and some families are having to cut back on other essentials to make their monthly internet service payments.
They said this new bandwidth program provides $65 billion to expand internet for all and will allow a million new households to save hundreds of dollars a year on internet service. The ACP provides eligible households up to $30 off internet bills, as well as a one-time $100 discount on a connected device.
To further lower costs, Biden and Harris said internet service providers across the country are committed to offering high-speed plans that are fully covered by the ACP, meaning millions of working families can now get high-speed internet without paying a dime.
Experts estimate nearly 40% of households in the country qualify for the ACP. Click here to find out if you are eligible.
Earlier this month, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced grants from the North Carolina Department of Information Technology's Broadband Infrastructure Office will award internet access to thousands of homes and businesses across the state. As part of that program, $23 million would be awarded to nearly 7,000 households and over 300 businesses in 12 North Carolina counties.
These grants are a part of a $2 billion initiative from Cooper to bridge the digital divide in North Carolina. More than 305 applications were submitted for the grant funds as internet service providers attempted to get funding for over 487,000 households and businesses. In order to be eligible, internet service provider applicants must be enrolled in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides a $30 per month internet bill discount to low-income households.
Wake Up Charlotte To Go is a daily news and weather podcast you can listen to so you can start your day with the team at Wake Up Charlotte.
SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcasts || Spotify || Stitcher || TuneIn || Google Podcasts
All of WCNC Charlotte's podcasts are free and available for both streaming and download. You can listen now on Android, iPhone, Amazon, and other internet-connected devices. Join us from North Carolina, South Carolina, or on the go anywhere.