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Explanatory. What does Biden’s new $ 100B project for broadband mean?

Problems with US broadband networks have been evident for years. The cost of services is higher than in many other rich countries, it still does not reach tens of millions of Americans, and the companies that provide it do not face much competition.

The Biden administration now promises to do something about all of these issues as part of its $ 2.3 trillion infrastructure package. The $ 100 billion plan to tie all Americans together is more of an idea than a policy; it lacks very detailed details.

But it does outline a shocking new vision for activist government measures aimed at improving high-speed Internet service, decades after the government left the business largely to private companies.


It will spend $ 100 billion on an “future inadmissible” broadband network as part of an eight-year infrastructure program, calling high-speed connections “the new electricity” that Americans now need. (For proponents of history, this refers to the Rural Electrification Act: Depression-era legislation that accelerates the spread of power lines on farms and in rural communities).

It could signal a major policy change to lower the cost of Internet service, rather than simply transferring money to broadband providers to network. “Americans pay too much for the Internet,” he said.

It encourages greater competition, which can drive down prices by encouraging, supporting, supporting local governments, cooperatives, and affiliated nonprofit networks. Currently, about 20 states restrict urban broadband. Prioritizing such networks can make them stronger when the government spends money to extend service.

“The most important thing in President Biden’s proposal is that he redefine the digital divide,” said Larry Irving, a senior telecommunications official with the Clinton administration. “It is a huge statement that a simple action recognizes that poverty is a greater indicator of lack of access than geography.”

It is unclear how the Biden administration intends to do this.


It has become clear from the epidemic that millions of Americans are not online, a problem that is not limited to rural areas but also includes cities. The White House says more than 30 million Americans have no high-speed Internet at all, and millions more cannot afford it.

The split persists even after the government spent billions encouraging broadband suppliers to connect remote and often isolated communities. According to a government monitoring report, from 2009 to 2017, federal spending on such programs was $ 47.3 billion. Over the next decade, an additional $ 20 billion will be charged for rural broadband, and another $ 9 billion for high-speed wireless Internet called 5G in sparsely populated areas. Another billions flowed from the three huge aid packages adopted during the epidemic.

America’s rural Internet policy has been a constant mistake, says Obama’s Son FC, an Obama-era FCC official. “What we have is very slow,” he said. The White House now says it wants “no future” networks in “non-serviceable, non-serviceable areas” so they will not have to be rebuilt years later because they are obsolete.

Exactly what those terms mean for the structure, where it is also unclear, many Republicans oppose the introduction of federal funds in areas with even slower Internet access, which is called “infrastructure.”


The $ 2.3 trillion infrastructure project has its downsides. Some Democrats are disappointed because they wanted more. Kentucky Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, on the other hand, called it a “Trojan horse” for raising taxes.

Internet access is a bipartisan issue, but Republican leaders in the House and Senate Commerce Committees see Biden’s approach as transparent.

Washington’s Katie McMorris Rogers, a Republican member of the House Energy Committee, said Biden’s plan would “hurt private investment in our networks without actually closing the digital divide.” He called for improved infrastructure regulations to speed up investment. Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker, a Republican Republican in the Senate, said the proposal “opens the door to duplication and reconstruction.”

Democrats in Congress recently introduced their broad-based broadband bill, including a $ 94 billion bill for Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and South Carolina Representative James Ames Cliburn, a House-majority whip that both say they approve of.


The concerns of the Republicans are echoed by the representatives of the industry. Cable lobbying group NCTA said the White House was “risking a serious mistake” by suggesting that the government was more suitable than private sector technologists for creating and operating the Internet. The NCTA also said it was concerned about price adjustments. Biden’s document does not mention price controls.

Jon Onatan Spalter, executive director of the USTelecom lobby group, said the government’s investment in the broadband network was “the wrong approach” as taxpayers would get the bill if such networks failed. He insisted that broadband prices were already falling.

The Department of Labor says that over the past decade, the cost of telephone services, which includes Internet plans along with telephone service, has fallen by about 7%. Internet service costs, which include things like web hosting, increased by 2%. New America, which heavily funds the tech industry, says prices are higher in the United States than in Asia or Europe.


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