Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Biden's American Jobs Plan calls for $100 billion for broadband

President Biden's American Jobs Plan is calling for a historic investment of $100 billion to "bring affordable, reliable, high-speed broadband to every American", including for the more than 35 percent of rural Americans who lack access to broadband at minimally acceptable speeds.

Some highlights

  • Build high-speed broadband infrastructure to reach 100 percent coverage. The President’s plan prioritizes building “future proof” broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas and also prioritizes support for broadband networks owned, operated by, or affiliated with local governments, non-profits, and co-operatives—providers with less pressure to turn profits and with a commitment to serving entire communities. 
  • Promote transparency and competition. This includes lifting barriers that prevent municipally-owned or affiliated providers and rural electric co-ops from competing on an even playing field with private providers, and requiring internet providers to clearly disclose the prices they charge.
  • Reduce the cost of broadband internet service and promote more widespread adoption. In the short term, this could include subsidies to cover the cost of overpriced Internet service. In the long term, the goal is to reduce internet prices for all Americans.

In addition, President Biden's plan calls for an $180 billion investment in R&D for new technologies to fuel economic growth. Some highlights here include:

  • An investment of $50 billion in the National Science Foundation (NSF), creating a technology directorate that will collaborate with and build on existing programs across the government. It will focus on fields like semiconductors and advanced computing, advanced communications technology, advanced energy technologies, and biotechnology. 
  • $30 billion in additional funding for R&D that spurs innovation and job creation, including in rural areas. 
  • $40 billion in upgrading research infrastructure in laboratories across the country, including brick-and-mortar facilities and computing capabilities and networks. 
  • $50 billion in semiconductor manufacturing and research