Sen Franken’s Better Deal Economic Plan for Americans includes $20B broadband

Earlier this week, Senator Franken announced…

Today, U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) helped unveil a new economic agenda to support workers and families in Minnesota. The “Better Deal” plan would help to boost wages, create jobs, bring down people’s expenses, and make sure that the economy works for all Americans—not just those at the very top.

The agenda would hone in on several policies that Sen. Franken has either championed or written legislation on in the past, including measures to brings down prescription drug costs, raise wages, close tax loopholes, invest in infrastructure and high-speed internet, and crack down on trade cheats.

Part of the plan is A Blueprint to Rebuild America’s Infrastructure Creating Over 15 Million New Jobs

The Senate Democrats’ “Blueprint to Rebuild America’s Infrastructure” would make a historic $1 trillion federal investment to modernize our crumbling infrastructure and create more than 15 million jobs that our economy desperately needs. Our Blueprint will improve the daily lives of millions of American families by creating a 21st century transportation network, rebuilding water systems and schools, making our electric system stronger and our communities more resilient, and much more. Our Blueprint will invest directly in communities because Democrats know that we can’t fix a problem of this magnitude simply by tolling more highways or privatizing water and sewer system that profit on ratepayers. We will prioritize projects and communities all across the country. We will have robust set-asides for small towns, rural communities, tribal lands, and underserved populations.

Here’s what is says about broadband…

Connecting America’s Communities $20 billion – Creating 260,000 New Jobs

Problem: Access to quality and affordable high-speed internet is no longer a luxury; it is a necessity for 21st century commerce, education, telemedicine, and public safety. High-speed internet can unlock communities’ full economic potential, help rural areas attract new employers, improve healthcare outcomes, and help students succeed. Yet, despite its importance, according to recent Federal Communications Commission (FCC) data, as of January 2016, nearly 40% of Americans living in rural areas and 10% of Americans living in urban areas lack access to quality high-speed broadband. The Organization for Economic and Co-Operation Development (OECD) ranks the U.S. 16th in the world in terms of broadband access, and we are 12th in terms of average broadband speed.

Solution: To close the rural-urban divide, and to push toward ubiquitous access to high-speed broadband, we will invest $20 billion to fund the build out of high-speed broadband in unserved and underserved areas. This funding will be available to projects currently eligible under programs at both the Department of Commerce and the US Department of Agriculture. We also propose expanding the programs to enable grant recipients to use grant funds to deploy various types of infrastructure capable of offering, middle-mile, last-mile wired and wireless broadband access, and adding evaluation criteria in the awards process to ensure that the funding goes to the most effective and efficient uses. Finally, we propose ensuring additional funding is available to help upgrade our nation’s aging 9-1-1 system and other critical infrastructure technology.

This entry was posted in Funding, MN, Policy by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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