Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Will Close Digital Divide

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The recently announced federal infrastructure plan will allocate $65 billion for broadband that “ensures every American has access to reliable high-speed internet with an historic investment in broadband infrastructure deployment.”

The plan outline recognizes that “more than 30 million Americans live in areas where there is no broadband infrastructure that provides minimally acceptable speeds – a particular problem in rural communities throughout the country.”

The proposed bill will also lower internet prices by directing recipients of its funding to provide low-cost plans, creating price transparency, helping families comparison shop, and “boosting competition in areas where existing providers aren’t providing adequate service.”

In addition, it proposes to help close the digital divide by passing the Digital Equity Act. This would end digital redlining, while creating a permanent program to help more low-income households access the internet cheaply and efficiently.

While this calls for a little more government intrusion into broadband, in return for some much-needed help in closing the digital divide, it appears to be a reasonable approach to the problem. As always, of course, the Devil will be in the details.