President Biden’s $100 billion broadband plan is customer-focused

Ars Technica reports…

President Biden’s plan to connect all Americans with high-speed broadband includes proposals to boost competition, build more publicly owned networks, lower prices, and prioritize “future-proof” networks instead of ones that would quickly become outdated. In other words, the plan includes some of the broadband industry’s least-favorite ideas and is sure to meet fierce resistance from cable and telecom lobby groups and Republicans.

Biden’s $100 billion broadband proposal is part of the American Jobs Plan described by the White House in a fact sheet released today. The broadband details released so far are a bit vague, and the plan could be changed in Congress, but there’s a lot to like for Internet users.

He’s big on local connections…

Municipally owned networks, nonprofits, and co-operatives would play a major role in the expansion pitched by Biden. The broadband industry and Republicans have been fighting city-owned networks for years, and nearly 20 states have laws that restrict the growth of municipal broadband. While Democrats have proposed eliminating those state laws, congressional Republicans last month proposed a nationwide ban on municipal broadband.

Biden’s plan “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,” the White House fact sheet said.

And he’s looking at doing this once…

Biden’s fact sheet didn’t specify any minimum speeds for broadband networks built under the plan. But the fact sheet said, “The president’s plan prioritizes building ‘future-proof’ broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas so that we finally reach 100 percent high-speed broadband coverage.”

Future-proof could mean fiber broadband with symmetrical upload and download speeds, or at least networks that provide higher upload speeds than today’s cable and fixed-wireless networks. If Biden wants to prioritize symmetrical speeds, he will have support from at least some high-ranking congressional Democrats.

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

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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