Biden administration details ‘largest online investment in our nation’s history’

When President Biden signed the bipartisan infrastructure law last November, he promised $45 billion to help modernize America’s broadband infrastructure.

This week, administration officials provided more details about how this money will be saved with a new device Internet for all A program that aims to provide high-speed internet to every part of the United States

“We will ensure that every American has the technologies that allow them to attend class, start a small business, visit their doctor, and participate in the modern economy,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement.

during A recent interview with Yahoo Finance, described the broadband effort as “a huge part of the business here at the Commerce Department.” She visited Durham, North Carolina, Friday to announce, It said “This is by far the largest investment in the Internet ever made in our nation’s history.”

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo (center) arrives at the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies to hear the expansion of broadband access on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC, on February 1, 2022. (Photo by Andrew Harnick/POOL/Agency French Press) (Photo by Andrew Harnik/Paul/AFP via Getty Images)

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo testified before the Senate recently about expanding broadband access. (Andrew Harnick/Paul/AFP via Getty Images)

It will change people’s lives

Biden officials promise that the program will help increase Internet access in every corner of our country, including many of the places left behind.

“It’s going to change people’s lives,” Deputy Commerce Secretary Don Greaves said Monday of the program, adding that increased access to telemedicine could save as well as change lives.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi added that Friday’s announcement is “another key step to ensuring the success of working families in the 21st century economy.”

The latest government data revealed that At least 19 million Americans Lacking access to broadband. Other estimates suggest that the number lacking adequate connections is higher, 42 million. Microsoft (MSFT) has also case study He says the real figure could be as high as 120.4 million people who lack high-speed internet.

The Infrastructure Act allocated a total of $65 billion to broadband efforts, with $15 billion to fund a program to reduce consumer Internet costs. Biden announced on Monday that 20 major Internet service providers have agreed to offer low-cost plans that will be free to millions of Americans after refunds.

The lion’s share of the money for broadband infrastructure – $42.5 billion – will go into a new broadband property rights, access and publication program that will help countries improve Internet connections. The fund is one of a A set of open programs for applications To improve internet speed and encourage Americans to subscribe to broadband.

A stuck question: Municipal broadband

One of the questions the industry will be watching closely is how much money will ultimately be allocated to the effort Allowing more cities to offer direct internet. Vice President Kamala Harris, for example, has spoken about urging more cities to set up shop and provide the service directly.

Show the latest data More than 600 communities are served through some form of municipal network, but others are hampered by local laws that prevent them from working alongside private providers.

“We strongly encourage each state to waive the rules about blocking and sharing municipal participation. We believe it makes a lot of sense for states to work directly with their municipalities to find the best options to provide access to every local community in the country,” Graves said.

This effort will likely encounter resistance from companies, such as AT&T (T), whose CEO is John Stanke Yahoo Finance last year He is concerned about plans to “over-build existing infrastructure that already exists with taxpayer-funded money.” On Friday, USTelecom, an industry group representing AT&T and others, told Yahoo Finance that the companies would help “ensure that this historic financing will get the best and highest uses.”

Moreover, it is not always easy to determine which parts of the country really lack broadband. The Federal Communications Commission is working to develop more comprehensive broadband access maps this year to replace the existing mix of resources, including maps. It is run by private companies like Microsoft (MSFT) and others.

The FCC says the agency has made significant progress toward new maps and will collect additional data in the summer ahead of a planned release in the fall. New maps of states and policymakers in Washington will allow money and other resources to be directed more precisely to the areas that need the most help.

This functionality has been updated with additional context.

Ben Wershkull is a writer and producer at Yahoo Finance in Washington, DC.

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