Monday, March 15, 2021

US Congress Considering Funding for Universal Broadband


Our last blog post outlined the argument for universal broadband (equitable access to the internet for all), and suggested a few ways this could be accomplished.


Since that blog post, Congress passed the coronavirus stimulus package, which included $7 billion to help K-12 schools provide their students with devices (computers, tablets, wifi hotspots) they need to participate in remote learning.  The stimulus package also provides $10 billion for states to use to expand infrastructure, which can (but does not have to) include broadband internet access.


Since the covid stimulus package passed, legislation has been introduced in the US Congress to provide $94 billion to make broadband internet access available and affordable across the country.  Called the Accessible, Affordable Internet Access for All Act, the proposed legislation envisions a new federal program that focuses exclusively on ensuring equitable internet access across the 50 states.  The infrastructure development focus will be on projects in areas that currently have no internet:  rural and tribal areas, as well as lower-income urban communities.


The bill also proposes to provide $6 billion in an affordability program, which would provide up to $50/month subsidies for families in need to access existing internet services.


The Accessible, Affordable Internet Access for All Act was introduced by 30 Democrats in both the House and Senate.  A summary of the bill’s main points is available here.  Given the current make-up of both houses of Congress, this is the best opportunity in a long time for the bill to pass.  If you are a reader in the US, your representative and senator would love to hear from you …

1 comment:

KCG College said...

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